Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 6, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

NSA HEARINGS, DAY 1....Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wins today's chutzpah award for his defense of the NSA's domestic spying program:

As for news accounts about the domestic eavesdropping, Mr. Gonzales said, they have been "in almost every case, in one way or another, misinformed, confused or wrong."

Needless to say, Gonzales can clear that up anytime he wants to. All he has to do is tell us in general terms what criteria the NSA uses to decide which U.S. citizens to listen in on so we can all get it straight.

I'm also more tired than you can imagine of his constant invocation of presidents from Washington to Roosevelt who authorized warrantless surveillance in wartime. All of that happened before FISA was passed in 1978 and is completely meaningless. And he knows it.

Kevin Drum 5:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (283)

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Your outrage is significantly less than what is warranted.

Warrantless outrage or something.

Posted by: lib on February 6, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

FISA, like the War Powers Act, was an attempt by the post-Watergate Congress to assume increased power at the expense of the executive. No president since Carter has accepted this power grab by Congress.

I'm sorry you're tired of it because you are going to see it the rest of your lifetime, or until we adopt Shari'a. Which ever comes first.

Posted by: Mike K on February 6, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Give credit to CNN (yes, I just did over at Angrybear) for their reporting on the fact the Specter et al. refused the Democrat request that he appear under oath. But then had he said what he said under oath - we'd have an AG committing perjury (at least in my view).

Posted by: pgl on February 6, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'm also more tired than you can imagine of his constant invocation of presidents from Washington to Roosevelt who authorized warrantless surveillance in wartime.

And I'm tired of liberals and the Democratic Party constantly complaining about a little eavesdropping by Bush so that he can prevent the terrorists from striking again. We Americans were attacked on 9/11. When that happened libs like you were complaining about how it was all Bush's fault. Now that Bush is doing everything possible to kill the terrorists libs are complaining about civil liberties.

This is about listening to terrorists and their supporters. If you libs care so much about the rights of terrorists, you should have been the ones who died on 9/11 rather than all the good Americans who were murdered by those terrorists whose "civil liberties" you want to protect so much.

Posted by: Al on February 6, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

If Gonzales is not under oath, then it's a given he's lying. Then again, Rice was under oath when she testified before the 9/11 Commission and she lied anyway.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm also more tired than you can imagine of his constant invocation of presidents from Washington to Roosevelt who authorized warrantless surveillance in wartime.

Either that, or start mentioning the "people" who resisted tyranny and appeals for security, and fought for and won their liberty and rights.

"Give me liberty, or give me death."

"Those who would surrender a little liberty for security...".

etc.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

I find it sickening he's allowed to testify without being sworn in. If a baseball player testifying about steroids has to be sworn in, why not the Attorney General of the United States? I'd like to see the (D) Presidential Candidate in 2008 declare that his cabinet members will be required to be sworn in when testifying to congress.

Posted by: Robert on February 6, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

It takes a troll to put Civil Liberties in quotes.

Posted by: Robert on February 6, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

we'd have an AG committing perjury (at least in my view).

He's already done that. Today would have been (at least) the second time.

Liars, liars, liars, liars.

Oh, and Tom Tomorrow takes down the winger talking points

Posted by: craigie on February 6, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

I keep hearing about this inherent power that the president has to eavesdrop--can someone point me to the section of the Constitution where it says that the 4th Amendment doesn't apply to the president.

Oh, and Mike, every president since Carter, except for Bush II, has in fact adhered to FISA--as they should have. Stop lying.

Posted by: Ringo on February 6, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

'Now that Bush is doing everything possible to kill the terrorists libs are complaining about civil liberties.'

First, Doorknob Al, domestic wiretapping has nothing to do with "killing terrorists". Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think one single terrorist is in their grave as a result of this misguided and illegal program. Second, if Bush is "doing everything possible..", I have a question, "Where is Osama?????"

'If you libs care so much about the rights of terrorists, you should have been the ones who died on 9/11 rather than all the good Americans who were murdered by those terrorists whose "civil liberties" you want to protect so much.'

We care about the rights of Americans, shit-for-brains, not the rights of terrorists. Besides, there are laws on the books already (namely, FISA) that allows wiretapping of suspected foreign agents. Enforce the laws that are on the books, don't make up new ones, right? It's what the right-wing always says about gun control.

Finally, f*ckface, if you are now advocating the murder of liberals, because you do not agree with their political positions and beliefs, it is you and your ilk that most assuredly do not deserve to live in this great country!!!!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 6, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

FISA, like the War Powers Act, was an attempt by the post-Watergate Congress to assume increased power at the expense of the executive. No president since Carter has accepted this power grab by Congress.....
Posted by: Mike K on February 6, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Only Carter accepted reality?
Sounds about right.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Since the Republican party in Congress puts its loyalty to power above its oath of office, there is only one cure for this disease. If/when a Democratic president takes office, all the powers of the unitary executive should be brought to bear on them. Senators wiretapped. Gonzales arrested and tried for violating his oath of office, i.e., treason.
Then the Supreme Court will declare those powers unconstitutional. And only then.

Posted by: JMG on February 6, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

The question I would like answered is "Were any of the following people investigated:

John Kerry
John Edwards
Wesley Clark
Hillary Clinton
Paul Krugman
Molly Ivins
Marcos Moulitsas Zuniga
Duncan Black
etc.

Posted by: sublime33 on February 6, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

I think that this is an issue most Americans would be very interested in - if they are informed. If the past five years of this administration has shown as anything, it is the following:

This administration "needs" strict scrutiny and oversight. It does not deserve any benefit of doubt.

AG, invoking Teddy Roosevelt, goes to show that they have a lot to hide, and they are trying to hide it by being on the offense (hoping that Democrats will back off). (Needless to say being offensive).

Let us not dilute the issue, by trying to be overeager to "understand" the other side. Here is a common sense version of it:

(a) What they are doing is illegal
(b) They know that it is illegal, and
(c) They think that they can get away with it, by asking everyone else to "prove" that what they did was illegal.

Kari

Posted by: Kari on February 6, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

We Americans were attacked on 9/11.Posted by: Al on February 6, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

What do you mean "WE" white man?

Now that Bush is doing everything possible to kill the terrorists libs are complaining about civil liberties.

You're no American. You're a coward, who'd rather sacrifice Liberty than lose your fake illusion of security.

...who died on 9/11 rather than all the good Americans who were murdered by those terrorists. . .

If you're so concerned about those 9/11 terrorists, they why aren't you concerned at all about how it is now February of 2006, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent in this War on Terror, and Osama bin Laden is still threatening us from his hidey-hole in Pakistan? Don't those "good Americans" deserve real justice?


Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

FISA, like the War Powers Act, was an attempt by the post-Watergate Congress to assume increased power at the expense of the executive. No president since Carter has accepted this power grab by Congress.....

Lie. Every president up to Bush the Lesser has, in fact, adhered to FISA. FISA is the law of the land, and if Bush didn't feel like obeying it his remedy was clear -- go to Congress and get the law repealed. But he chose not to do that and to break the law instead.

Posted by: Stefan on February 6, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

The attempts to portray the AUMF as Congress abdicating Unlimited Wartime Powers to Chimpy are also getting tired and worn. It isn't, and saying so enough times won't make it true. Give it a rest.

Posted by: melior on February 6, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Given that the right-wing lumps everyone to the left of McCain as an unpatriotic traitor, ie 'the enemy within', is there any doubt that they wouldn't use wiretapping against their political opponents if given the opportunity?

What are the odds that not even Gonzales knows who the NSA has been tapping? But I bet Bolton knows...

Posted by: tinfoil on February 6, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I am so sick and tired of hearing these incompetent people claim that becuase of 9/11 they need us to give up more freedom so they can eavesdrop on Quakers, nuns, Democrats, and Faisal from the 7-11 calling his Auntie Babbaloo in Pakistan.

Sure, 9/11 changed everything. Unfortunately, it did not make this administration the least bit competent. Just afraid and power-hungry.

Seriously, the people who gave up looking for Osama bin laden so they could go hunt for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are now going to school us in terror fightin'? Sorry, the guys whose keen international genius set up a regime in Iraq that's not only friendly to Iran, but that actually has actual Al-Quaeda sympathizers openly serving in Parliament are the ones who we're supposed to give unfettered power to? Christ, if there's anything this gang needs, it's more goddam fetters. They went off to fight terror and we got Al Quaeda in Parliament and bin Laden on primetime! Explain to me, please, why we should give these schmucks the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: theorajones on February 6, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

The meta-issue, Mike K, is "should there be checks and balances; should citizens of the US be subject to searches not based on judicial review but the notion that a president will automatically do what's just."

So Mike (and other conservs) you are telling me that in three years you would be comfortable with President Clinton, or President Gore having those powers?

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose I shouldn't be amazed that supporters of unrestrained domestic wiretapping can't imagine that there will ever be day when GWBush isn't president. It hasn't even dawned on them yet that they are advocating this expansion of powers for President Hillary as well. Expect more wet diapers when it does.

Posted by: melior on February 6, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

to pick up on the point by stefan and others, mike k, the supreme court invited congress to pass a law to clarify the issues involved in electronic surveillance and foreign-intelligence gathering.

they didn't invite the executive to make a determination of what he thought was best. indeed, the supreme court position is that even a state of war is not a blank check for the executive, not that Gonzalez appears to know that (or cares to acknowledge it - it's like the question of whether bush "lied" about iraqi wmds or simply believed what he wanted to believe. who cares?).

as for the excreable Al: a.) unlike the republicans, who most assuredly would have impeached al gore had 9/11 occurred on his watch, the dems rallied round George Bush after 9/11; b.) it's now been longer since 9/11 than it took us to defeat the nazis (with the japanese thrown in for good measure), and we haven't achieved much of anything, illegal behavior by the executive notwithstanding; c.) if george bush had stirred himself to pay any attention to the 8/6/01 PDB, then we had plenty of legally available evidence that would have allowed us to disrupt the plot.

try and learn some facts, why doncha....

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget there has been no declaration of war. The US is not at war now any more than when there was a war on drugs.

Posted by: Ewan Husarmee on February 6, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Bush is doing everything possible to kill the terrorists libs are complaining about "civil liberties."

Apparently, in order to give freedom to the Iraqis, we have to give up freedom at home. I didn't know this was a zero-sum game.

Posted by: craigie on February 6, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

i'm just gonna go ahead and quote Glenn Greenwald:

    We used to quote Madison, Jefferson and Lincoln to decide what the principles of our Government are going to be. Now we quote Al Qaeda. The Administration wants Al Qaeda and its speeches to dictate the type of Government we have. It is the centerpiece of everything they do and say.
Posted by: cleek on February 6, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

The US is not at war now any more than when there was a war on drugs.

Ewan, did somebody win the war on drugs? Is it over?

Posted by: kaptain kapital on February 6, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ewan, did somebody win the war on drugs? Is it over? Posted by: kaptain kapital

Yes. As someone pointed out the other day, the drugs won! As far as budget sucking sink holes go, the DEA has no peer.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Al: You are a traitor. In the absence of the obvious inability of the GOP controlled government to bring criminal charges against you, my attorney will file the civil charges tomorrow.

See you in court. Traitor.

Posted by: kaptain kapital on February 6, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Gonzales wasn't under oath so this hearing is a sham.

Why are Repubs so allergic to oaths? Why do they hate the truth?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 6, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Oh, and Mike, every president since Carter, except for Bush II, has in fact adhered to FISA--as they should have. Stop lying.

Posted by: Ringo"

Read the last paragraph on page 18 of this.

Don't get stuck on stupid.

"So Mike (and other conservs) you are telling me that in three years you would be comfortable with President Clinton, or President Gore having those powers?

Posted by: Keith G "

Clinton had them but allowed Gorelick to impede the use and we got 9/11. Of course, I would be comfortable !

You still have a political Achilles heel on national security. You may not care if we get hit again but I do.

Posted by: Mike K on February 6, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Fellas, Fake Al is pulling your chain.

The real one died and a joker has kept the voice going. He's not serious, just a mock.

Posted by: Guy Banister on February 6, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

So news accounts, according to Gonzales, are, "in almost every case, in one way or another, misinformed, confused or wrong." Fine. I can accept that, except, on the other hand, he and others keep contending that the news of this program has damaged national security.

Seems to me the first statement cancels out the second. They can't both be true.

Posted by: bryrock on February 6, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

It's worth noting that the following Democratic Senators voted to put Abu Gonzales in the Attorney General's seat-

Pryor AR
Landrieu LA
Nelson FL
Nelson NE
Lieberman CT
Salazar CO

Baucus, Inouye and Conrad didn't vote

Posted by: elmo on February 6, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Mike K, run and hide under your bed pissing your pants about 'getting hit' again. Whatever. Chances are you will die on the highway, rather than killed by a terrorist.

But stay afraid, that's a good thing. Both Osama and George W thank you for it.

When did the right become the chicken shit, help me daddy party?

Posted by: Swede on February 6, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Yup, isn't it grand to think my president deems me a threat to the USA.

Not only am I a birthright Quaker, but a peace fiend who prescribes to the notion that peace is more than the absence of war.

I have ties to the AFSC and we all know how horrible those folks are when it comes to aiding war victims all over the world, for generations.

We can wage war against this and that, forever.

What we don't seem to realize is that war profiteers thrive on all this mayhem.

Question: How come Gonzalez got out of testifying under oath today? Why is his view of what the president does so noble?

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 6, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Just a thought

If it is true that Previous to FISA Presidents had the power to authorize warrentless searches. Did congress have the power to take away or modify that power.

Posted by: TruthPolitic on February 6, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: Clinton had them but allowed Gorelick to impede the use and we got 9/11. Of course, I would be comfortable !

Prove that your stupid comment isn't stupid. LOL! What a fool.

Hey, Bush didn't need illegal wiretaps to FUBAR the Gulf Coast and the administration knew days in advance that Katrina was coming.

LOL! Clueless Bushie shills are hilarious!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 6, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

That Al, he makes me laugh! He's so funny.

Meanwhile, on planet Earth, if Abu G. wants to talk about historical precedents, how about a President who ordered the imprisonment of American citizens in concentration camps, depriving them of property and liberty, to 'protect America'? Manzanar, anyone? To paraphrase the wingers, the Constitution is not a suicide pact with our government - we count on checks and balances to guard us from the excesses of zeal on the part of those who would "protect" us.

Posted by: biggerbox on February 6, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

FISA was created in 1978 and has been followed by all Presidents until this one

Posted by: Burgman on February 6, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

The really important precedents are from the Clinton administration. Presumably these will be discussed in the hearings.

Posted by: contentious on February 6, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, in order to give freedom to the Iraqis, we have to give up freedom at home. I didn't know this was a zero-sum game.
Posted by: craigie on February 6, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

We're freeing them over there so we don't have to be free over here.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

We used to quote Madison, Jefferson and Lincoln to decide what the principles of our Government are going to be.

Lincoln said that it didn't make sense to sacrifice the whole constitution to preserve one clause (habeas corpus), any more than it made sense to sacrifice a whole body to save a leg. that is in fact very similar to the Bush administration's policy.

Posted by: contentious on February 6, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K, i go back and forth on you, but no longer: you are a total ass.

anyone who claims that just because more than half of americans think that the president should obey the frickin' law doesn't "care if we get hit again" is too much of an ass to be worthy of further comment, so i'll limit myself to noting that page 18 on your link doesn't have jackshit to do with this discussion.

what a miserable little ass you are.

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

craigie and osama been forgotten: brilliant one-two combination!

it almost makes me feel better for soiling my eyes with the disgusting Mike K....

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

If it is true that Previous to FISA Presidents had the power to authorize warrentless searches. Did congress have the power to take away or modify that power.
Posted by: TruthPolitic on February 6, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Did the duly-elected president at the time sign that law?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Gonzales justifies illegal actions by our president.

The SAME president who wants to cut education spending by 28%, while increasing defense spending (7%) and homeland security by 9.8%.

Domestic spying and drastic cuts in domestic spending.... "our nation is strong" (GWB SOTU 2006)

Tax-cuts for the rich, Pell Grant cuts for the poor. Go USA!!!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 6, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

...but most Americans do not trust the ACLU in matters of national security.
Posted by: mhr on February 6, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

That's because they're the American Civil Liberties Union. Not the American Security Union. You wanna trade one for the other?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

mhr, study up on the history of legislation with respect to electronic surveillance:

http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL30465.pdf

then study the polls that have correctly asked the question "do you believe the president should have to get a warrant before wiretapping american citizens," which will show you that some 55% believe that even george washington lincoln churchill bush should follow the law.

Article II does not override the fourth ammendment, and the AUMF is not a congressional declaration of war, and even a true state of war does not provide the president a "blank check."

Up until Truman, American presidents thought that it was fine that the armed forces were segregated. If Bush wanted to reintroduce segregation into the armed forces, would it be ok just because other presidents accepted it?

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

I have a simpler question for Mr. Abu, What war was the United States in when Washington was president?

Posted by: portsider on February 6, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Yes, Mike K, run and hide under your bed pissing your pants about 'getting hit' again. Whatever. Chances are you will die on the highway, rather than killed by a terrorist."

And you will get mugged in a gay bar. See ? I can do that juvenile stuff too. I give you a link to the FISA court of review case that shows the NSA program is legal and what do I get in return ?

High school heroes. Junior high school !

"But stay afraid, that's a good thing. Both Osama and George W thank you for it. When did the right become the chicken shit, help me daddy party?"

When did the left become the little pig that built his house of straw ? You cannot be trusted with anything more serious than a video game and you wonder why your people can't get elected ?

Just let the adults run things and you can play all you like.

"Posted by: Swede" Who hasn't a clue. And his pal Apollo 13.

Here's some remedial education. I'm sure you know what that is.

Posted by: Mike K on February 6, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

You cannot be trusted with anything more serious than a video game

which is a good deal more than Georgie and his Cult of Personality should be trusted with.

Posted by: cleek on February 6, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Ahhhh, I must have hurt poor lil Mike K's feelings. LOL!

howard, you are right. Page 18 of the link Mike K referred to us has nothing to do with the discussion. He is an ass.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 6, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Robert: the reason Gonzales is allowed to testify without being sworn in is simple enough. The republicans control congress.

I've never seen such a bunch of wimps in my life. They are scared of everything, especially of having their government exposed the public.

The republican congress allows Bush (their Daddy) to run amok. The is party-wide agreement that secrecy is beneficial to maintaining power. I cannot think a single republican who really stands up to the administration. McCain only does it cautiously.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 6, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

During a break in the Senate testimony by Attorney General Gonzales, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions became just the latest Republican to resort to the now standard GOP defense of President Bush's illegal domestic spying program. Call it the "Give Me Death" strategy.

"Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us."
- Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), 2/6/06

"You really don't have any civil liberties if you're dead."
- Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), 2/3/06

"None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead."
- Senator John Cornyn (R-AL), 12/20/05

For the full story, see:
"The GOP on Domestic Spying: The 'Give Me Death' Defense."

Posted by: AvengingAngel on February 6, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

When did the left become the little pig that built his house of straw ?

About the same time the right became the little pig that built his house of dung, and billed the taxpayer for a house of gold.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know for sure what is legal in this situation, but in any case: I want honesty about what is going on, and a cooperative not contemptuous attitude towards non-executive centers of power. One big point: if the Constitution doesn't give this wiretapping power directly (muddied perhaps by the one-foot-out circumstance) then, right or wrong, it is a pragmatist and not a conservative stance to support the President on this. (That is, it may be right to bend the rules to protect us, but such bending is inherently "activist" and not adhering to strictures.)

Posted by: Neil' on February 6, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

El Presidente is our Jefe maximo! You must obey him at all times, or you will just disappear!

Posted by: Augusto Pinochet on February 6, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

A bit of a flame throwing is required from the blogosphere.

[During the hearings today] Senator Dianne Feinstein asked a great question:


"Can the President suspend in secret or otherwise the application of section 503 of the national security act which states that no covert action may be conducted which is intended to influence United State political processes, public opinion, policies or media. In other words can he engage in otherwise illegal propaganda."

Gonzales said he is not comfortable answering that question.

Posted by: lib on February 6, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

If you libs care so much about the rights of terrorists, you should have been the ones who died on 9/11 rather than all the good Americans who were murdered by those terrorists whose "civil liberties" you want to protect so much.

Al! I'm so excited! Heard you say that exact quote on CSPAN this morning! Crooks & Liars has the clip.

But I didn't know your voice was so high! (Be sure to play the clip.)

Posted by: fracas_futile on February 6, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Er, Mike K. Saying that the President should have wholly unimpeded and unmonitored rights to spy on any American he chooses, with absolutely no block except his own conscience, is:

(1) Not quite what the Founders had in mind.

(2) Wholly unnecessary for security against al-Qaida or any other terrorists, since those notorious pinkos Judge Posner and Admiral Poindexter have already proposed an entirely workable set of guidelines to allow monitoring of terrorist suspects without any danger that the president will be allowed to emulate Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover and wiretap his political enemies instead (which, lest we forget, is why FISA was passed):

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w060130&s=heymannposner020206

http://www.slate.com/id/2133564/

So -- as Andrew Sullivan says -- why is Bush so reluctant to accept even such loose restrictions? Why, because there's a good chance that he IS already emulating Nixon and Hoover by wiretapping his political enemies:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/29/AR2006012900714.html

http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/02/the_fisa_myster.html

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 6, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Neil', if you want some useful background, read these two reports by the congressional research service:

http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL30465.pdf

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/m010506.pdf

a quick round-up of some honest conservative opinions on this matter here:

http://thinkprogress.org/2005/12/20/conservative-scholars-argue-bush%E2%80%99s-wiretapping-is-an-impeachable-offense/

some other concerned uber-conservatives can be found here:

http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=59381

There are, of course, no conservatives who support George Bush, only right-wingers.

of course, there's hardly any actual conservatives left, only right-wingers....

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Gonzales said he is not comfortable answering that question.
Posted by: lib on February 6, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

WTF? He's not even under oath?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

"You still have a political Achilles heel on national security. You may not care if we get hit again but I do."

The guy who gave up on Osama bin Laden so he could go off to Iraq has an achilles heel on national security.

You may not care if we get hit again, but I do. I'm tired of a preaident who thinks nuns, Quakers, and Greenpeace are a bigger threat to our security than AL fucking QUAEDA and Osama bin Laden.

Posted by: theorajones on February 6, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Oh Drum. People are confused because they are speculating wildly on something they know nothing about and should know nothing about since it's classified. If the AG "cleared up" everything I don't know about national security so I wouldn't feel confused about it, we would have no secrets left.

That can't be the Dem position. Can it?

Can it?????????????????????

Posted by: mike on February 6, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

There are still two more Tea sessions with the AG, but those will be behind closed doors.

I suspect the final outcome has already been reached.

I am most interested in the publics reaction to the Final Solution.

Posted by: Sideline on February 6, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about national security so I wouldn't feel confused about it, we would have no secrets left.

Do we need to point out that this administration used the exact same arguments prior to Iraq? That there was classified intelligence proving Saddam had WMD, secrets they couldn't reveal without sacrificing national security, and that we should just believe them?

That turned out well, didn't it???

Posted by: tinfoil on February 6, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

The great achievements of the Bush Administrations:

1. Decline in Median income: check

2. Decline in private sector employment: check

3. Chipping away at civil liberties of American Citizens: Check


Yet the idiots like the poster above continue to give their blind support to the guy.

Amazing!

Posted by: lib on February 6, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

If the AG "cleared up" everything I don't know about national security so I wouldn't feel confused about it, we would have no secrets left. That can't be the Dem position. Can it?

Unlike the Rep's, the Dem's don't have an official position about keeping you confused. As far as keeping secrets goes, FISA allows the President to do his secret surveillances, just under some measure of checks and balances.


Posted by: Alf on February 6, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Let me make myself clear:
I'm afraid of Osama bin Laden attacking us. Not because I'm afraid I or a loved one will get killed, not because I'm afraid of watching skyscrapers tumble on live television, not because I'm afraid that the economy will go even more in the shitter and I'll lose my job.

I'm afraid of how many more civil liberties I'll lose if bin Laden strikes again.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 6, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K on February 6, 2006 at 7:04 PM:

I give you a link to the FISA court of review case

Yeah, but did you actually read it? The conclusion starts on page 55, 'tho the City of Indianapolis v. Edmond case that was cited on page 54 gives some necessary background to the conclusion.

that shows the NSA program is legal

Um, no, it does not.

and what do I get in return?

You made a bad argument and you got called on it. Stop whining.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 6, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

neil', here's another useful discussion from national journal:

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/Spying%20101%20A%20Legal%20Primer.pdf

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Er, Mike K. Saying that the President should have wholly unimpeded and unmonitored rights to spy on any American he chooses, with absolutely no block except his own conscience, is:

(1) Not quite what the Founders had in mind."

Nor is it what is happening as far as I can tell. They are following up on numbers found either in al Qeada files or known aQ calls. They are also screening (packet sniffing) calls going in or out of the country, not staying in, for certain phrases or other telltale items. They are not using this for criminal prosecution. When they get a "hit" they are going to FISA for surveillance.

That's how I understand the program and that is what the link I posted says does NOT violate FISA.

"(2) Wholly unnecessary for security against al-Qaida or any other terrorists, since those notorious pinkos Judge Posner and Admiral Poindexter have already proposed an entirely workable set of guidelines to allow monitoring of terrorist suspects without any danger that the president will be allowed to emulate Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover and wiretap his political enemies instead (which, lest we forget, is why FISA was passed):"

You assert.

"So -- as Andrew Sullivan says -- why is Bush so reluctant to accept even such loose restrictions?"

Because Andrew, whose blog I used to support, has had the vapors since Bush came out in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act. Andrew gives serious gays a bad name by being wholely occupied with his dick. Or someone elses.

"Why, because there's a good chance that he IS already emulating Nixon and Hoover by wiretapping his political enemies:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/29/AR2006012900714.html"

You assert. Fair enough. I really hope Frist moves a sense of the Senate resolution to halt the NSA program so I can watch the Democrats run for the tall grass. Profiles in cowardice.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw

At last someone who is not a pimply faced kid with obscenity instead of argument.

I will disagree but am in favor of hearings. Now if we only had a few Senators who knew enough to evaluate testimony. Dianne Feinstein covered herself in ineptitude today, I hear.

Posted by: Mike K on February 6, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, I'm invoking Godwin, but to call a spade a spade: Shorter Mike K.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 6, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

ah, i see that blithering ass, mike k, the man who accuses the rest of us of not caring if we get hit again, now claims that: a.) he knows how the nsa program functions; b.) misreads his own link (assuming he read it at all, mike k being the kind of lad who takes the official propaganda talking points to heart), which has nothing to do with the nsa program because it's a court case that precedes the frickin' nsa program's public unveiling; c.) resorts to the vilest kind of gay-bashing to attack andrew sullivan; d.) claims that despite being sure that the nsa program is legal, he favors hearings (we're so thankful, oh mighty mike k, for your blessing); e.) and then, while acknowledging that he doesn't actually know what happened in the hearings, "hears" that diane feinstein performed poorly.

and this is why we conclude that mike k is a compete jerk, and we don't have to be pimply-faced kids to know an ass (and call him on it) when we see him.

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K on February 6, 2006 at 8:14 PM:

They are following up on numbers found either in al Qeada files or known aQ calls. They are also screening (packet sniffing) calls going in or out of the country, not staying in, for certain phrases or other telltale items...That's how I understand the program...

Cite your source, please...There's a number of Senators and Congressmen who would like to know the details of the NSA program as well as you do.

They are not using this for criminal prosecution.

Yet your linked document states that foreign intelligence gathering and criminal prosecution are intertwined.

When they get a "hit" they are going to FISA for surveillance.

Except when they aren't, as when Dubya admitted to bypassing the FISA court.

and that is what the link I posted says does NOT violate FISA.

Um, no, it still doesn't. You might want to re-read the legal opinion and re-think your own.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 6, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

while we're on the subject of the blithering Mike K, i did the work so that others don't have to: i read the entire opinion he linked to.

it takes a really special kind of propaganda robot to see this opinion as supporting what the NSA is doing.

What this opinion dealt with is a fascinating byway of FISA: where (if anywhere) do you draw the line between "foreign intelligence" information-gathering and "criminal" information-gathering. The court concluded that a particular FISA court opinion had not drawn that line correctly.

But in coming to its opinion, the court also noted that FISA is constitutional and that probable cause is a legitimate standard.

Since the whole issue with the Bush program is its avoidance of "probable cause" (what General Hayden called a "relaxing" of the standard), insofar as this opinion has any relevance at all to the NSA program, it is to reiterate that it is violating FISA.

it takes a special kind of propaganda robot to misread that as support for presidential lawlessness, but then, in mike k, we have a special kind of propagangda robot: the blithering ass kind, the kind that accuses his fellow citizens of not caring if we're hit by another terrorist attack.

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

well, grape_crush, i see that you and i did the same piece of work at the same time: reading mike k's link.

did he think no one would? or did he really not understand what he read? or did he see some reference on some right-wing site and accept it without verifying? inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Since laws are "quaint" in war time, why don't we clap the administration in leg irons for the duration and hire someone else? Hypocrite of the day: Orrin Hatch, dissembling about the reasons the President broke the law rather than seeking to amend one, and rendering meaningless any Congressional statute the President does not like.

This is all about a President who needs to be above the law so he can't be held accountable for his abyssmal performance. High crimes and misdemeanors were years ago. Bush and co. are on apocolyptical malfeasance now.

Posted by: Sparko on February 6, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

howard,

One word describes Mike K's commentary: PIFFLE!

: )

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 6, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us."
- Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), 2/6/06

"You really don't have any civil liberties if you're dead."
- Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), 2/3/06

"None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead."
- Senator John Cornyn (R-AL), 12/20/05

"You may not care if we get hit again but I do."
- Comic genius Mike K (Mindless-CA), 2/6/06

It's worse than their being a bunch of puling, underbed-hiding babies. There is now a whole class of people in this country which truly believes that there is nothing worse than death. Or losing.

They infect our government, our workplaces, our streets. What could an honorable person possibly have to say to them? They're already dead.

Posted by: shortstop on February 6, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Death isn't really final.

You can still vote!

Posted by: Sideline on February 6, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13 ol' pal: word!

shortstop: sad but true.

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

howard, champion & uber-mensch.

Mike K, drooling dick-scratcher.

Tut.

Tut.

Posted by: Kevin's Crew on February 6, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

howard on February 6, 2006 at 8:49 PM:

i see that you and i did the same piece of work at the same time

I kinda figured that if there was anything more substantial than Gonzalez and Yoo's personal opinions that the NSA program was unquestionably legal, we'd have heard about it by now. You did a much better job at explaining the particulars than I, however. Thanks.

did he think no one would (read the link)?

Hey, at least he provided a link to something that he thought supported his opinion...That's more than most of the Dubya cheerleaders who visit here do...

or did he really not understand what he read?

Possibly. But it is all official-looking and stuff. That's gotta count for something.

or did he see some reference on some right-wing site and accept it without verifying?

Um, I'll answer D: All of the Above.

Then again, Mike K could be some fiendishly clever lefty operative posing faulty RNC talking points just to get them debunked...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 6, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: There is now a whole class of people in this country which truly believes that there is nothing worse than death.

Live Free or Die"

-- New Hampshire state motto

Give me liberty or give me death!

-- Patrick Henry

We have gone downhill, haven't we? Or maybe the people who said those things were Democrats. Republicans prefer King George.

Posted by: alex on February 6, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Madness and all, alex.

Posted by: shortstop on February 6, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS IN THE PAST ARE NOT COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS; YOU ARE SO PREPOSSESSED TO CLAIM SO.

The Congress does not have unlimited authority to pass laws directing the President qua Commander-in-Chief as it wishes, generally or especially during military operations. For example, if Congress passed a law ordering the President to remove Battalion A from Baghdad and put it in Falluja, the President does not have to do it. While in this instance, the President has defied Congress, but he has not broken THE LAW OF THE LAND, i.e., the Constitution. The point Gonzales is making, constitutionally, is the the President's had this power and Congress CANNOT take it away. Only a Constutional Amendment can do that. Since every federal court and Supreme Court has recognized this inherent power exists and has corroborated that where it exists it inclueds these types of situations, CONGRESS CANNOT ALTER THAT POWER in our nation's history, in 1978, or now. So FISA has no relevance as to the President's inherent constitutional power, recognized by the Supreme Court, to conduct espionage here or abroad.

Even if you dispute this, it is still a viable and arguable question that probably will be decided by the Supreme Court. In any case, the President is on rock solid constitutional grounds to claim this right. He is in the mainstream in terms of constitutional history, if not among many pundits.

Irony of ironies: apparently the "inherent power" of women to get an abortion in their first trimester trumps Congressional legislation, but the President's RECOGNIZED BY SUPREME COURT DECISIONS AND FEDERAL COURT DECISIONS to conduct war-time or otherwise necessary espionage without warrants CAN BE trumped by Congressional legislation?

So, according to the FISA people, by analogy, if Congress passed a law outlawing abortion (also "inherent" - yeah sure) than that would be OK because it's post 1973. Ridiculous; just as ridiculous as Mr. Drum's FISA passage as determinative argument.

It's too silly; typical in other words.

TOH

PS Keep it up; intellectual consistency and national defense interest aside, whatever hope you had in '06 and '08 is going down the drain.

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 6, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Objective Historian can describe the chemical components of Flubber so that we may all understand.

Posted by: Sideline on February 6, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

So FISA has no relevance as to the President's inherent constitutional power, recognized by the Supreme Court, to conduct espionage here or abroad.

Thanks for placing the President above the law.

We'll remember that in three point eight years when Hillary Clinton rounds up all the people who disagree with her administration and dumps their corpses in a huge salt mine in the Nevada desert.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce Moomaw: Why, because there's a good chance that he IS already emulating Nixon and Hoover by wiretapping his political enemies:

I would place a sizable bet that you are right, Mr. Moomaw. Note to self: buy stock in paper shredders before Bush and Turd Blossom (What a gay nickname!) leave office.

So tell me, sweetie darlings, what probable cause does the Pentagon have to spy on American gays and lesbians? Since when is a gay kiss-in a "credible threat" to national security? When did the terror alert system include pink or lavender?

Imagine! How dangerous a gay and/or lesbian terrorist org would be! You come home to find your neighborhood is under attack by a horde of Queer Eye decorators, house painters, and landscaping crews! Ha! You should be so lucky!

But seriously... in 1999, then Governor George W. Bush said, "There ought to be limits to freedom." And lookie! Georgie is doing everything he can to make his 1999 statement come true.

We are not living in land of the free anymore, sweeties, and certainly NOT in the "United" States of America.


--TGM
Thank you, God, for making me gay!

Posted by: The Gay Millionaire on February 6, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

TGM,

Suddenly, the QEFTSG show makes sense to a fashion challenged goofball like myself--it's all designed to make America ready for a Turd Blossom presidency.

Karl Rove For President-2008.

"Because he has a bunch of shit on you, dawg!"

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Back on topic. These hearings are the preliminary under card to the big title fight.

That will be held in the courts. Thats where the chips are on the line.

Posted by: Sideline on February 6, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

it's quite reassuring, objective historian, to see that you're as out-to-lunch on the question of presidential lawlessness with respect to FISA as you are with respect to economics.

as usual, actually dealing with your remarks is more bother than it's worth (as grape_crush notes, as least mike k is in there trying!)

consistency!

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

That will be held in the courts. Thats where the chips are on the line.

Right. A big fight. Think there will be a lot of browbeating?

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I'll bite. I just hope there's no hugging like fighters seem to do.

Posted by: Sideline on February 6, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. K-Y, the ass who farted: Andrew gives serious gays a bad name by being wholely occupied with his dick. Or someone elses.

Puh-leeze, Mr. K-Y, astound us with your definition of "serious gays" and hopefully, though doubtful, you can provide an authoritative cite for the definition. Do tell. This "serious gay" wouldn't piss on a Bush loyalist, homo or hetero, if he were ablaze begging for a golden shower. I am very curious what you call a "serious gay" since I might know something about it. Do you? Trying speak in code, sweetie? Wink, wink. Kiss, kiss.


--TGM
"Jesus loves you, but I'm His favorite." : )

Posted by: The Gay Millionaire on February 6, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Think they'll look at each other and squint and go, 'what are you lookin' at?'

And Congress will go, 'Nothin'

And the Adminisration will go, 'Puss!'

And Congress will go, 'You're a puss!'

And the Administration will go, 'Whatever, man.'

And Congress will go, 'You better shut up.'

And the Administration will go, "Make me, ya puss!'

And then Congress will grab the administration by the shirt and they'll push each other around until one of them falls down the stairs and a shop teacher shows up.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

PR, I can't keep up with you but I still try.

Good one.

Posted by: Sideline on February 6, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

How can you tell when any Bush defender is Lying? All together now....When their _ _ _ _ are moving. If you are a Republican and find the puzzle too difficult ask someone in the public.

Posted by: murmeister on February 6, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

PR, I can't keep up with you but I still try.

Nah, that's left over from my trolling expedition over on some milblogs. I heartily encourage everyone to visit a rightwing milblog and troll--it'll open your eyes to how f'ed up this country really is.

As to the topic at hand, there are milestones along the way. The first milestone was when Bush announced, that first Saturday after the case broke, that he authorized warrantless wiretaps and huffed and puffed about it. Since then, there has been a great deal of spinning the wheels and hemming and hawing.

Today was the next milestone--the Attorney General of the United States has failed to make the case for the administration, and has likely avoided perjuring himself by refusing to answer the specific questions posed by Sen. Russ Feingold.

Feingold has the AG's number. Progressives everywhere should thank Feingold for trying to get the AG to answer questions today.

Republicans should wonder why Bush picked another crony to be AG. Hell, Harriet Miers would have been a better pick--she could have gone up there and had her husband burst into tears behind her when Feingold started asking questions.

Let's never forget--in 2006, the United States of America confirmed to the Supreme Court a man who placed his wife behind him so she could cry on cue.

Look how far we are from good government and having adults run the place.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

TGM! Long time no read!

There's a few problems with your argument, not-so-Objective Historian:

While in this (Battalion A-B) instance, the President has defied Congress, but he has not broken THE LAW OF THE LAND, i.e., the Constitution.

Yet in the instance of the NSA domestic survelliance program, Dubya has admitted to violating the Fourth Amendment, which he has sworn to uphold. Which is stronger: An explicitly stated Amendment or an implied 'inherent power'?

Irony of ironies: apparently the "inherent power" of women to get...

Last I heard, women weren't a branch of the federal government, subject to checks and balances from the other branches...Apples and oranges; try again...

...but the President's (inherent power) to conduct war-time...

I must have missed the formal declaration of war. When is Dubya calling for a draft and raising taxes to support the war effort?

or otherwise necessary espionage without warrants CAN BE trumped by Congressional legislation?

It's the unnecessary espionage that's the issue here...Is something 'necessary' just because some Dubya crony thinks that it is? Is conducting surveillance on nuns, Quakers, and homosexuals 'necessary'?

the President is on rock solid constitutional grounds to claim this right.

And if you clap your hands loudly enough, Tinkerbell lives! Really, ObjHist, Your argument has more cracks in it than an ass factory.

God, I love that line...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 6, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

And he knows it. - Kevin Drum

Of course he does but the game all of this administrations operatives play is confuse the point, obfuscate the truth, and protect the dictator. How many of the minority of Americans who are paying ANY attention to this know anything more about it than what they hear on FOX news or from Rush Limbaugh? If they say it often enough it will resonate and THAT is all they care about. To hell with the truth.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on February 6, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Grape_Crush,
I love "Dubya cheerleaders"! That's fabulous, darling. Ab fabulous.

And Mr. Rider,
A Turd Blossom presidency?! You are so naughty. Note to self: buy stock in douche bags and gay escort services if Karl wins SC primary.

BTW, anyone ever heard what Bush's nickname was when he attended Yale? His fraternity "brothers" called him, "Lips."


--TGM
"I' love Barbara Boxer! Now, she's got a spine and cojones."

Posted by: The Gay Millionaire on February 6, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, silly me. It was not Yale but the all-male Phillips Academy where Bush was known as "Lips". He was head cheerleader there. ; )


--TGM

"If you're not for gay equality, you're not TGM."

Posted by: The Gay Millionaire on February 6, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of women with cojones, Helen Thomas sure bitch slapped Scott McClellan today.

Where is a Guckert/Gannon when you need one?

Posted by: jcricket on February 6, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

jcricket on February 6, 2006 at 10:37 PM:

Helen Thomas sure bitch slapped Scott McClellan today.

Heh...Scotty did get roughed up a bit...Video from Crooks and Liars here.

Where is a Guckert/Gannon when you need one?

Probably on one of those 'extended overnight passes' at the White House...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 6, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

I just got name-checked by TGM!

Woo hoo!

Yes, I have to instruct my mutual fund managers to start investing in Turd Blossom related stocks--although I think we should add tearaway pants and male bikini wax products.

Mr. Bolton has the key to all of the 'unnecessary espionage,' folks. He had that ace to play and that's why the administration was forced to recess appoint him and take the hit as opposed to what they should have done, which was dump him and move on.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

"ah, i see that blithering ass, mike k, the man who accuses the rest of us of not caring if we get hit again,"

You said it, not me.

"now claims that: a.) he knows how the nsa program functions;"

No, I said that I understand it to be a certain way. In response I see juvenile posturing.

"b.) misreads his own link (assuming he read it at all, mike k being the kind of lad who takes the official propaganda talking points to heart), "

Since you can't read the link, here is the language:

The FISA courts decision and order not only misinterpreted and misapplied minimization procedures it was entitled to impose, but as the government argues persuasively, the FISA court may well have exceeded the constitutional bounds that restrict an Article III court. The FISA court asserted authority to govern the internal organization and investigative procedures of the Department of Justice which are the province of the Executive Branch (Article II) and the Congress (Article I). Subject to statutes dealing with the organization of the Justice Department, however, the Attorney General has the responsibility to determine how to deploy personnel resources. As the Supreme Court said in Morrison v. Olson in cautioning the Special Division of the D.C. Circuit to avoid unauthorized administrative guidance of Independent Counsel, [t]he gradual expansion of the authority of the Special Division might in another context be a bureaucratic success story, but it would be one that would have serious constitutional ramifications. 487 U.S. 654, 684 (1988).19

There's the story of the Democratic Party and the angry left, "bureaucratic success story. "

The final word on the ACLU case ?

"Accordingly, we reverse the FISA courts orders in this case to the extent they imposed conditions on the grant of the governments applications, vacate the FISA courts Rule 11, and
remand with instructions to grant the applications as submitted and proceed henceforth in accordance with this opinion."

Did you people really not understand that ? Or is it incomprehensible if Moveon.org doesn't explain it.


"which has nothing to do with the nsa program because it's a court case that precedes the frickin' nsa program's public unveiling;"

You can't be this dumb. You know how to operate a computer !

" c.) resorts to the vilest kind of gay-bashing to attack andrew sullivan;"

Who has lost his balance since the gay marriage story took over his conscious thoughts.

"d.) claims that despite being sure that the nsa program is legal, he favors hearings (we're so thankful, oh mighty mike k, for your blessing);"

Maybe you dopes coulod learn something.

" e.) and then, while acknowledging that he doesn't actually know what happened in the hearings, "hears" that diane feinstein performed poorly."

Sounded pretty stupid but I've been immunized here.

"and this is why we conclude that mike k is a compete jerk, and we don't have to be pimply-faced kids to know an ass (and call him on it) when we see him.

Posted by: howard"

Howard. I strongly urge you to force your Senators to demand a vote on the NSA program and see how many are willing to disarm the US in the face of a mortal threat that most of you don't understand.

I really want to see an up or down vote on this program. Please, please, please demand it. Vote, Vote, Vote.

If you don't you're a coward.

God what stupidity !

Posted by: Mike K on February 6, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

The FISA court asserted authority to govern the internal organization and investigative procedures of the Department of Justice which are the province of the Executive Branch (Article II) and the Congress (Article I). Subject to statutes dealing with the organization of the Justice Department, however, the Attorney General has the responsibility to determine how to deploy personnel resources.

Uh huh. Nice try.

Every time someone tries to distract people from the real issues surrounding the FISA court, they play this game.

On the one hand, yes, you have the Justice Department.

On the other hand, you have the NSA.

Which is the point.

The Justice Department and the NSA are two completely separate agencies and a finding in the Supreme Court relating to the Justice Department has absolutely nothing to do with activities related to the NSA.

The NSA is the FOREIGN communication intelligence collection agency of the USA. It MUST abide by the FISA laws, and no one, not the head of NSA, which is the DIRNSA, his bosses, who can be traced upwards from the the new DNI, the Secretary of Defense (who still has budgetary control), and the POTUS--especially the POTUS--can disregard the FISA law.

This is the shell game--the NSA is subject to the FISA laws and no one is above the law.

Except maybe Mike K, who will no doubt remind us his kid is an FBI agent.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think we will ever get an answer to Leahy's question..."does the President have the authority to read an American citizans' first class mail?"

Posted by: elmo on February 6, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

And guess what, Kennedy?

The Truong case from 1980 doesn't relate to this issue, either.

Oh, and neither does the Gorelick memo.

Neither relate to the foreign intelligence collection activities of the NSA.

Keep searching. Yeah, try over on NRO and see if you can find that post from three weeks ago...not that one...no, keep looking. Keep scrolling through the pages.

Dang, Kennedy--clear out that browser cache, will ya? Your computer's too slow.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

IT IS NOT PLACING THE PRESIDENT ABOVE THE LAW (CONGRESS' LAW-MAKING POWER, THAT IS); IT'S PLACING THE PRESIDENT CO-EQUAL WITH CONGRESS BUT DIFFERENTLY DELEGATED WITH POWER UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.

BUT IF YOU INSIST ON THOSE TERMS, YES, THE CONSTITUION DOES PLACE THE PRESIDENT ABOVE FROM THE LAWS OF CONGRESS. JUST AS CONGRESS IS ABOVE THE PRESIDENT'S EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY. [IF THE CONSTITUTION DID NOT PLACE THE PRESIDENT ABOVE CONGRESS' LAW, WE WOULD HAVE A PARLIAMENT. ER, UH, MAYBE YOU SO VERY INTELLIGENT REGRESSIVE-DEMOCRATS HAVE NOTICED? WE DON'T.] CONGRESS CAN'T CHANGE WITH BY PASSING A LAW. THE MEANS TO CHANGE THIS IS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

If the legal reasoning here is an example of Regressive-Democrat research and analytical skills, then it causes little wonder the gutter they dragged us into from 1964 to 1979 and the excellent reasons they have been marginalized with greater and greater effect since.

I've have to add that this was one of Mr. Drum's goofiest posts ever. That it finds so much uninformed support among his readers shows he's the goofy leading the desperate.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 6, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

BUT IF YOU INSIST ON THOSE TERMS, YES, THE CONSTITUION DOES PLACE THE PRESIDENT ABOVE FROM THE LAWS OF CONGRESS.

The intent of the framers was to live with something called the rule of law.

There is no 'rule of law' when one man is above the law. The President of the United States is not above the law. No part or piece or component of the government of the United States is above the law. Period.

Next troll, please.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

THE OBJECTIVE HISTORIAN,

THE LAST 2 PARAGRAPHS OF YOUR POST WERE NOT IN ALL CAPS. THIS IS A VIOLATION OF THE WINGNUT STYLE GUIDE.

Posted by: alex on February 6, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

THE FOURTH AMENDMENT DOES NOT REQUIRE WARRANTS FOR SEARCHES!

Read it. It requires reasonableness for searches. It requires probable cause for warrants. But it does not require warrants for searches.

It figures you "intelligent" Regressive-Democrats don't even read the Amendment before you call Bush a criminal.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 6, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

It figures you "intelligent" Regressive-Democrats don't even read the Amendment before you call Bush a criminal.

No, no, no. Silly historian, facts are for adults.

The President is going to jail because he broke the FISA law, not for violating the Fourth Amendment Rights of thousands of Americans.

Where's Kennedy? Kennedy! U-p-g-r-a-d-e. I know you're cheap and want to get the most out of that Compaq prolinea 486, but come on. I have things to do.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 6, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

The big fight is in the courts? What leads you to believe that this administration would obey any court decision that went against them?

America 2.0 - get used to it.

Posted by: VAMark on February 6, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K on February 6, 2006 at 10:50 PM:

Did you people really not understand that?

We did. But you?...Not so much. Get someone to read you howard's 8:47 PM post. Slowly, so you can understand what you are referring to.

I strongly urge you to force your Senators to demand a vote on the NSA program and see how many are willing to disarm the US in the face of a mortal threat that most of you don't understand.

From earlier: Pajamaline! (link to video)

Q: But the attorney general says FISA allows intercepts that are otherwise authorized by statue. And he also says that that was authorized in the authorization of force act.
DURBIN: That's his argument. You've just repeated it.
Q: Well, why don't if you disagree with that argument, why don't you go on the floor and try to get a vote and have the Senate say whether or not the authorization of force - with all force necessary-
DURBIN: Who do you work for, incidentally?
Q: Powerline and Pajamas Media.
DURBIN: Jamas Media?
Q: Pajamas Media.
DURBIN: Pajama Media?
Q: And Powerline.
DURBIN: Okay, I'm sorry I wasn't familiar with your publication.
Q: But did you hear Gonzales say-
DURBIN: I'll check out Pajamaline, but I'm not familiar with your publication.

Is it too much to ask that you come up with your own arguments, Mike K? Or are you on loan from Pajamaline?

God what stupidity!

Projecting your own intellectual deficiencies onto others is the sign of a small, weak mind, Mike K.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 6, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, if the president has the authority for warrantless searches in wartime since 1978, how is a declaration of war not a separate statue under the FICA exemption that lets him do it again.

Secondly, who says FICA is constitutional anyway?

Keep pushing this and you weaken America then kick it up to the Supremes who will say its OK (thanks to Scalito) and you'll humiliate yourselves.

This is how you get to a one-party state. Total stupidity on the part of an opposition.

Posted by: McA on February 6, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Why bother to argue with the likes of Mike K? As has been noted several times here, he doesn't even understand his own sources that he thinks support his argument.
He has a few different ways of calling you stupid, which is about as much as I expect from the Bush sheeple anymore.
And of course, if a Democrat were president and doing the same thing, they'd flip positions like a giant pancake. Just watch.

Posted by: Ringo on February 6, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Semantics.

While there has been no declaration of war, the President is using Congressionally authorized military force.

Too inane; it's not apples and oranges. The point with both the inherent constitutional right to abortion and the inherent constitutional presidential power is that Congress cannot interfere with either, via an anti-1st-trimester-abortion law or via FISA. In fact, it is more true with the checks and balances; that supports the president's power. If not for the president's inherent power as Commander-in-Chief, inter alia, Congress would run the country exclusively and the conduct of war. Imagine, 535 generals (incl. Reid and Pelosi - yikes!). There are areas in which the Congress cannot tread and Supreme Court precedent has determined that the President's constitutional right to conduct espionage during military operations is one of them; Congress did not have the power to compel the President to get a warrant; sorry, insane clown posse [Regressive-Democrats].

The Regressive-Democrats are already losing the Libby case thanks to his shrewd defense team (their subpeonas have Fitzgerald and the high profile reporters in the case running for the hills); the Regressive-Democrat papers' (The New York Times and the Washington Post) reporters are going to rot in jail until they (quickly, I'll bet) give up the traitors who sold out our soldiers in the field because they don't like the GOP; you're going to lose this NSA case on the facts, the law, and the politics because you are WRONG on all three.

"Eeeeeeiiiiiiiiyyyyyyyyyhhhhhhhhhh!"

That is the Democratic Party jumping off a cliff. Remember November 3, 2004? It will seem like one of your Regressive-Democrat ecstasy-induced 24 hour highs compared to the hit you will take in '06 and '08.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 6, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K at 6:31 p.m.:

You still have a political Achilles heel on national security. You may not care if we get hit again but I do.

me at 8:47 p.m.:

it takes a special kind of propaganda robot to misread that as support for presidential lawlessness, but then, in mike k, we have a special kind of propagangda robot: the blithering ass kind, the kind that accuses his fellow citizens of not caring if we're hit by another terrorist attack.

mike k at 10:50 p.m.:

"ah, i see that blithering ass, mike k, the man who accuses the rest of us of not caring if we get hit again,"

You said it, not me.

Me, right now: and we're supposed to take you seriously, Mike K? No, you said it, at 6:31 p.m. you know, using that computer doohickey.

that's why you're a blithering ass.

it's barely worth spending the time with the rest of mike k's silliness at 10:50, but otherwise i'm out of excuses to take out the trash (well, this is a form of taking out the trash, too).

a.) distinction without a difference - you claim to "understand" how the program functions, even though gonzalez tells us today that everything we've read is wrong. nice try!

b.) you quite obviously don't understand the case you're citing, mike k: you're embarassing yourself (although, of course, blithering asses rarely embarass themselves). it's not even an aclu case, you moron: they filed an amicus brief which the court appreciated, because it gave the court a chance to discuss, in detail, the issue of whether a FISA court-issued warrant to wiretap is a true warrant or not, an interesting aspect of this whole matter.

regardless, this is not a case about the nsa program. the essence of the nsa program, which i've already explained once, is to do away with the probable cause standard. this case has quite literally nothing to do with that, other than to discuss the ways in which FISA addresses "probable cause" as distinct from how Title III, the criminal code, addresses "probable cause." the ruling of the court doesn't have the slightest shred of relevance to presidential lawlessness.

are you really this stupid? i'm starting to like grape_crush's theory: you're actually on our side, here to make right-wing arguments look bad.

c.) yes, you engaged in the vilest form of gay-bashing. you seem to now want to justify it.

d.) yes, today i learned that george washington engaged in electronic surveillance. it was quite a discovery, i must say!

e.) i don't really think you answered the point.

but then we get to the kicker, and i must say, it's evidence that mike k actually is a left-wing plant! he says:

I strongly urge you to force your Senators to demand a vote on the NSA program and see how many are willing to disarm the US in the face of a mortal threat that most of you don't understand.

I really want to see an up or down vote on this program. Please, please, please demand it. Vote, Vote, Vote.

i say: i demand a vote, by all means. The problem is, george bush won't submit a piece of legislation. that's the essence, you blithering numbskull.

bush is violating fisa, he is justifying it by the most ridiculous and inane arguments about AUMF triggering commander-in-chief status and therefore he can violate FISA, but he isn't really violating FISA because he's commander-in-chief.

what i want him to do is come to congress and say, i've got a better way and i'd like to change FISA to encompass it. Then we can have a debate - just like a real democracy! - and the congress can vote. Maybe i'll like the outcome of the vote and maybe i won't, but regardless, i'll be secure that the constitution (you remember the constitution, don't you? the document that says the president shall see to it that the laws are faithfully executed?) is being followed.

so i'm all for a vote: you go take it up with the shallow little man in the oval office, why doncha? he's the problem, not me.

as for understanding the problem, you know what? i lived in london during the '70s when the IRA was planting terrorist bombs on a regular basis, and the brits didn't go into a panic over it and determine that Wilson, Callaghan, and Thatcher suddenly had the right of kings. I have relatives who have lived in israel since it became a state, and they've never felt compelled to make the israeli prime minister a king, unconstrained by constitutional norms.

jihadist terrorists are a real problem, and they will strike america again. at that point, we'll all get to see what a shitty job george bush and his administration has done in hardening stategic targets and preparing for an emergency response. meanwhile, they distract our intel with childish spy games and harm the carefully constructed system of checks-and-balances with their arrogant and willful lawbreaking. They don't want to try and change the law.

btw, when the public is asked the question correctly - "should the government be required to get a warrant before wiretapping american citizens?" - 55% say yes.

not that i would expect you to know that.

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

McA:

Venus de Milo (Aphrodite) and Michaelangelo's David are statues. Our laws are (in part) statutes

Also: FICA is our Social Security funding tax. It's got nothing to do with this thread.

Careless. Sloppy. Why should your logic be considered any different?

Posted by: jcricket on February 6, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

...and what was that last line about total stupidity, again??

Posted by: jcricket on February 6, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Your caps lock is sticking again, Alice/Patton/TOH.

[snip]

'An essential purpose of a warrant requirement is to protect privacy interests by assuring citizens subject to a search or seizure that such intrusions are not the random or arbitrary acts of government agents.' Skinner, 489 U.S. at 421-2

Except in certain narrowly limited cases, the Court repeatedly has stated its 'insist[ence] upon probable cause as a minimum requirement for a reasonable search permitted by the Constitution.' Chambers v. Moreny, 399 U.S. 42, 51 ('70).

Blanket searches are unreasonable, however 'evenhanded' they may be, in the traditional criminal law enforcement context. See, e.g., Ybarra v. Illinois, 444 U.S. 85, 91-2, 92 n.4 ('79)

[unsnip]

It figures that you "not-so-intelligent" Cheerleaders for Dubya don't even read the existing case law before you start hurling insults.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 6, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

alex: fantastic work at 11:12 p.m.

objective historian, really, you just don't know anything, do you? "inherent" authority is not the same as "limitless" authority: read loads of supreme court decisions about that.

for example, the president's inherent authority as commander-in-chief does not extend to the power of the purse, so if he wants a 50-battalion army and congress only funds a 20-battalion army, congress wins.

similarly, the president's inherent authority to wiretap in pursuit of foreign intelligence is not the same as an ability to simply violate the 4th ammendment.

also, you don't get to invent a meaning to the 4th ammendment. it's been ajudicated in a series of cases, over a lengthy span of time, and what it means is that getting a warrant is the way by which you demonstrate you are not conducting an unreasonable search and seizure.

i gotta say, though, your all-time best piece of stupidity is that the "regressive" democrats are already "losing" the Libby case! i mean, the case doesn't even go to trial for 12 months and we're seeing the usual round of pre-trial manuevering, and a stoop like objective historian thinks the case is being "lost." maybe you're the secret left-wing plant?

certainly your knowledge of the issues at hand here with presidential lawlessness is even lower than your knowledge of economics, and here i wouldn't have thought that possible.

McA, at least get the name right: it's FISA. FICA is a social security acronym....

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

I only quoted the Fourth Amendment because an earlier post claimed the President violated it.

Again, regarding FISA; As Gonzales clearly showed, the Supreme Court and all federal court of appeals decisions have found this Presidential inherent power. Congress cannot take away a power the President has under the Constiution. Only a Constitutional Amendment can.

Legally, that the president's position is at least viable is an absolute no-brainer; it is. And that he is constitutionally right is almost conclusive based on federal court (incl. Supreme Court) precedent. If the people did not like that precedent from the past, they could have amended the Constitution a long time ago just like it being the case that if the people did not like Roe v. Wade they have the amendment option.

Look, you Regressive-Democrats can waste your time being ignorant about this. We should be grateful; at least you're not walking the streets typically smacked-up, with your pants around your ankles and your hands in your raincoat pockets flashing strangers.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 6, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Regressive-Democrats are already losing the Libby case thanks to his shrewd defense team (their subpeonas have Fitzgerald and the high profile reporters in the case running for the hills

The Democrats did not bring the case against Lewis Libby; it was referred by the Justice Department and is being pursued by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, you stupid jackass.

In other words, you're watching that rule of law you so like to pay homage to in action.

Yet you're happy that the Libby lawyers are using aggressive tactics to try and threaten a U.S. Attorney and circumvent justice?

What a hypocritical jerk.

And a boob.

Posted by: trex on February 6, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

grape_crush: we gotta start coordinating better! we're wasting precious energy moving our fingers over the keyboard to say the same things....thanks for the actual legal cites about warrants and search and seizure, although of course, facts are wasted on our "objective" friend....

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's ludicrous that people still believe that the warrantless wiretapping is a) legal or b) effective. Have you not seen the newspapers since the story came out? Where FBI and NSA agents have come out and said that there is just too much information to process? That basically they are spying on so many people that they cannot keep up?

It is a joke that people still believe that this works. And it is blatantly illegal. If Bush wanted to do this, why didn't he go to Congress and say, "Hey, we need to revise the FISA law?"

Because he thinks he was elected King. It's sad that people ignore the obvious fact and get swept up in the Rovian spin. People, use your common sense, not the spin from the Right on why you should give up your Constitutional rights.

Posted by: LP on February 6, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK
"Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us." - Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), 2/6/06

I'm sure the hundreds of thousands of American veterans who have given their lives over 3 centures and countless wars, to establish and to defend our freedom and Constitution, will be comforted by our cowardice in the aftermath of 9-11.

Posted by: Jimm on February 6, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

objective historian brings us the latest in empty-minded circular arguments. too bad he doesn't actually read any case law or anything along those lines, or he would discover, as i already said, "inherent" authority is not "unlimited" authority (or, as the supremes once put it, "a declaration of war is not a blank check").

in fact, there are no precedents for what bush is doing. he is unique! no president has previously violated FISA, a law that was written by Congress at the express invitation of the Supreme Court (who, just maybe, know a touch more about the consitution than objective historian does).

The bottom line here is that Congress isn't attempting to "take away" the president's inherent power; it is trying to demarcate it, which is a perfectly legitimate constitutional principle. FISA, in fact, has been found constitutional in the past, although no case regarding FISA has yet made it to the Supreme Court (but since it was the Supreme Court that invited Congress to address the matter of electronic surveillance with respect to foreign intelligence, we can be sure that the idea of FISA is certainly constitutional).

what bush is doing is violating FISA on his own say-so. Gonzalez didn't prove anything today except to the dipshits like you who are so busy cheerleading for the shallow little man in the oval office that you're perfectly willing to see constitutional formalities blatantly violated.

PS. nice try on the 4th ammendment. in short, you shot your mouth off and were proven wrong.


again.

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

Howard:

Limitless, no; well within Supreme Court and federal court precedent. YES!

You are a fool; tell me, why have the Democrats not come up with one case to refute the cases Gonzales has referenced? (Oh, wait; the Truman steel workers case; a perfect match - NOT!) Gonzales' precedents all involve eavesdropping or some such and all come down in favor of the executive; they are as clear, apt, and well presented as he himself is. Even Clinton's Justice Department people back him up, e.g., Schmidt in the Chicago Tribune: If Clinton had the inherent constitutional right in the 1990s to physically search a CITIZEN who was suspected of being a CIA double agent, obviously Bush has the inherent constitutional right to eavesdrop on an international call between a citizen and a suspected non-citizen, non-U.S. located, enemy. No brainer.

Get some good material, folks.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 6, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

That last Clinton example was . . . WARRANTLESS!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 6, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

howard on February 6, 2006 at 11:42 PM:

we gotta start coordinating better!

Nah. There's something beautiful about seeing a troll get his ass kicked from several different directions at once.

Problem is that TOH may be too dim to realize just how badly his argument is being beaten up.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 6, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

HOWARD: THANK YOU!

CONGRESS DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO "DEMARK" A PRESIDENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL POWER EITHER! ONLY A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT CAN DO THAT. AS IS, HIS POWER IS LIMITED BY . . . "REASONABLENESS" AS JUDGED BY THE SUPREME COURT.

YOU . . . ARE . . . AN . . . UTTER . . . IDIOT!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 6, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, hmm . . .

Control of all branches of government by objectively reaosnable people; my arguments are being beaten up only in your audio-video club fantasy land.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

objective historian, you can't possibly be this stupid, can you? say you're really a plant, please, oh pretty please?

the examples are all pre-FISA (or, in Clinton's case, pre-FISA encompassing physical searches). do you really not get that? is it possible that you are that blind?

meanwhile, you've already conceded your case without realizing it: if executive authority in electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence isn't unlimited, then it's up to Congress to legislate the demarcation. that's what the supreme court invited them to do in the Keith case, specifically calling for "statutory guidelines." the law Congress came up with was FISA.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/m010506.pdf

If Bush doesn't like that law, he can ask for it to be changed, but given that his constitutional requirement is to see to it that the laws are faithfully executed, he can't simply break the law just 'cause he wants to.

etc.

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

HOWARD:

ONCE AGAIN THANKS: ONLY A PENDING SUPREME COURT DECISION WILL DETERMINE IF THIS IS CONSTITUTIONAL. HENCE FOR NOW, IT IS UNDETERMINED. HENCE, BUSH HAS NOT ACTED ILLEGALLY BUT IN A WAY THAT IS LEGALLY UNDETERMINED. HENCE, HE HAS NOT BROKEN THE LAW.

YES! FACE!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, The Objective Historian is that stupid.

He's not objective either, or a historian, as we all know.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Face?

Is TOH an acne-ridden 15 year old?

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

grape_crush, you're right: objective historian is much too fatuous to realize his ass is being kicked.

for instance, here's his latest: congress can't demarcate the president's authority. because it's in pdf from, i can't copy and paste, but you might stir yourself to the link i just provided you (from the congressional research service) and go to page 5 of the pdf, which quotes Justice Jackson in the steel seizure case in what has become the standard for judicial opinion on separation of powers. in brief, he identifies 3 zones of presidential action: where he acts "pursuant to an express or implied congrssional authorization," presidential power is at its strongest; where he acts in absence of congressional authority, relying on his own powers, there is a "zone of twilight" in which there is constitutional ambiguity; and where he acts incompatibly with with the expressed or implied will of congress, his power is at its lowest ebb, and indeed, may not exist at all due to its disruption of the "equilibrium established by our constitional system."

in short, i'm right and you don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about.

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm is correct. TOH is a shill. Copying and pasting madly from prepared text sent via e-mail subscription from (fill in the blank). There is no sense of individual thought going on.

However, Howard and Grape -- your responses were brilliant. Your command of the subject matter is impressive. Hang out here and post more often. I love learning -- especially since you both cite your references and they prove to hold up.

Nice.

Posted by: jcricket on February 7, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Rider: I just got name-checked by TGM! Woo hoo!

Sweetie, you're making me blush! I didn't realize my comments mattered all that much although Mr. Drum's blog could always use QEFTSG sensibility. I'm happy (gay!) to impart such. Oh, another good stock tip... I made a HUGE fortune in anal lube when Bush was elected in 2000 and 2004. Anal lube stocks have been gaining steadily since 1994. ; )

Dear, dear, oh, my. Mr. K-Y returned with a limp-wristed attempt, his lips quivering with "mortal threat". Susan Hayword much?

And he brought a friend who could rival a James Frey fiction. Aren't we blessed to have marvelous entertainment tonight?

All the drama queens in the closet tried out for the Republican Party and they ALL got the part.

I'm not laughing with you. I'm laughing at you!


--TGM

"If you voted for any Republican ever, you're not TGM."

Posted by: The Gay Millionaire on February 7, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

objective historian, in his acne-scarredd 15-year-old moment, once again displays his utter ignorance.

Bush is violating FISA, and by doing so, violating the 4th ammendment.

The question that the supreme court may well ultimately have to rule on is whether FISA is unconstitutional, although that isn't the bush administration claim. Their claim is that they really aren't violating FISA, because of AUMF and the commander-in-chief powers it triggers.

it's an astonishing claim, but it has nothing to do with whether he is breaking the law. he is breaking the law. it's only a question of whether he has a constitutional leg to stand on in order to break the law, not whether he's breaking it.

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

jcricket, too kind! actually, i'm an old-timer here, but because kevin's comments fill so quickly, if i don't get involved early on in a thread, i don't often join it.

but i'm having fun with our friends mike k and the objective historian!

and, in fact, the main reason i like to do this is that i learn from my fellow posters as well....even having to argue with mike k and objective forces me to double-check my sources sometimes.

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Howard:

GET IT STRAIT: PRE OR POST FISA IS IRRELEVANT AS TO DETERMINING THE PRESIDENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? CONGRESS DOES NOT DETERMINE PRESIDENTIAL POWERS.

Clinton, pre-FISA? HOWARD, YOU ARE A JACKASS. FISA WAS 1978. CLINTON, ER, UH, WAS PRESIDENT FROM 1993-2001.

REJECTION! That might be 2006 highlight reel material for Political Animal.

Yes, sometimes the Supreme Court rules on the application of federal law, but here we are talking about constitutional powers.

Howard: you are too idiotic.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Boy are you folks in for another November 3, 2004 moment . . . on-going.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Howard:

"It's an astonishing claim, but it has nothing to do with whether he is breaking the law. he is breaking the law. it's only a question of whether he has a constitutional leg to stand on in order to break the law, not whether he's breaking it."

Actually, this is "framed" anti-Bush, but right. But it supports exactly what I've been saying. "Breaking a law" (as you put it) that one has the power to break by the higher law (the Constitution) that created the power to make the law one broke in the first place is not breaking THE LAW at all; it is exercising one's constitutional leindependence from Congressional legislation; it is exercising one's RIGHTS and OBLIGATIONS under their oath of office as Chief Executive.

Put another way, if Bush acts Constitionally, he de jure cannot "break the law" no matter how much his actions are contrary to laws that Congress passes.

Thanks again, Howard.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

poor objective historian, truly unable to process information.

for instance, apparently you had trouble reading this: "(or, in Clinton's case, pre-FISA encompassing physical searches"

you see, my poor befuddled objective historian, clinton authorized a physical search without a warrant because at that stage, FISA didn't cover physical searches. clinton then supported a change in FISA so that it would cover physical searches. the very first hit i got with a google search on clinton + fisa + physical searches produced this, from the sf gate:

President Bill Clinton expanded the law in 1995 to include what is known as "black bag" searches of homes, which are executed while residents are away and without their knowledge.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2001/10/06/MN183971.DTL

so yes, it was legal for clinton to authorize physical search without a warrant when clinton did so; then clinton supported it becoming illegal, after which, he didn't authorize any more warrantless physical searches.

really, talk about embarassing ignorance, objective my sweet.

as for your first point, no, congress doesn't "determine" presidential powers. Congress legislates with respect to presidential powers in order to set, in justice powell's words in the keith case that first set FISA in motion, "statutory guidelines." if you're going to pretend to be a constitutional savant, at least know a few basics.

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Boy are you folks in for another November 3, 2004 moment . . . on-going.

Actually, I keep re-living a November 19th moment over and over:

Would you guys prefer to live in France? You have so much in common with them; maybe if you leave en masse, Striesand, Redford, all of Hollywood except Bruce Willis will go with you. There will finally be a non-laughable "French cinema".

Posted by: The Objective Historian on November 19, 2005 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK


Well, you managed to abdicate both "objective" and "historian" in one fell swoop. The addition of France, Hollywood, and Barbara Streisand in particular to your argument strips you of any credibility whatsoever as having the ability to think beyond basic ganglionic emoting.

An attendant will be along shortly with a dribble cup to help you find your pockets. In half an hour there will be a short course in the lobby on learning to breathe through one's nose.

Tomorrow night's feature: telling your ass from a hole in the ground.

Posted by: trex on November 19, 2005 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: trex on February 7, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

But hey, Howard -- TOH copied and pasted the words 'de jure' correctly. Give the pimply kid some credit for not posting 'du jour' as if it were soup.

:)

Posted by: jcricket on February 7, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

actually, objective, you must be a 15-year-old. no, in fact, the president doesn't just get to break the law: it is his constitutional obligation to see that the laws are faithfully executed.

if he thinks a law is unconstitutional, he can make that claim and find a case to take it to the supreme court, but until he does, he must so to it that the law is faithfully executed. it's not his personal choice. that's how the system works.

and the reason we can tell that you are an acne-scarred youth (perhaps of the jeffrey deutsch persuasion) is that you don't seem to know that we had a president who tried this line: "if the president does it, it's not illegal."

of course, that line of thought was rejected by the other 2 branches of government....

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

jcricket, excellent point!

(btw, i see that i forgot to fill in the mystery president's name: nixon.)

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

if Bush acts Constitionally, he de jure cannot "break the law" no matter how much his actions are contrary to laws that Congress passes.

The executive branch does not make law, its only Constitutional authority with regard to law is to enforce laws made by Congress. Thus, "acting Constitutionally" means abiding by and enforcing the laws made by Congress. If his actions are "contrary to laws that Congress passes," he has violated the Constitution and should be removed from office. Your premise suggests that the Congress has no authority under the Constitution, which contradicts the purpose of the document.

Shorter version: you couldn't be more wrong if you spent six months writing that sentence.

Posted by: Repack Rider on February 7, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Me: "Er, Mike K. Saying that the President should have wholly unimpeded and unmonitored rights to spy on any American he chooses, with absolutely no block except his own conscience, is:

"(1) Not quite what the Founders had in mind."

Mike K: "Nor is it what is happening as far as I can tell. They are following up on numbers found either in al Qeada files or known aQ calls. They are also screening (packet sniffing) calls going in or out of the country, not staying in, for certain phrases or other telltale items. They are not using this for criminal prosecution. When they get a 'hit' they are going to FISA for surveillance."

Me: Of course, the key words here are "as far as I can tell". In reality, of course, neither you nor anyone has the slightest idea what they're really up to, since they refuse to let any independent observers whatsoever in on it -- although that Washington Post editorial is, er, interesting.
_________________________


Me: "(2) Wholly unnecessary for security against al-Qaida or any other terrorists, since those notorious pinkos Judge Posner and Admiral Poindexter have already proposed an entirely workable set of guidelines to allow monitoring of terrorist suspects without any danger that the president will be allowed to emulate Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover and wiretap his political enemies instead (which, lest we forget, is why FISA was passed):"

Mike K: "You assert."

Me: I do indeed assert -- on the basis of what Posner and Poindexter propose as alternatives. Would it be asking too much for you to actually read them (since I gave you the URLs) and see if you can find any fault in their proposals?
________________________

Me: "So -- as Andrew Sullivan says -- why is Bush so reluctant to accept even such loose restrictions?"

Mike K: "Because Andrew, whose blog I used to support, has had the vapors since Bush came out in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act. Andrew gives serious gays a bad name by being wholly occupied with his dick. Or someone else's."

Mike K, a bit lower down: "At last someone who is not a pimply-faced kid with obscenity instead of argument."

Me: That is, not Mike K.
________________________________


Me: "Why, because there's a good chance that he IS already emulating Nixon and Hoover by wiretapping his political enemies:

"http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/29/AR2006012900714.html"

Mike K: "You assert. Fair enough."

Me: Actually, the Washington Post asserts that the Administration has already been officially caught, beyond any doubt whatsoever, engaging in similar activities.

____________________

Mike K: "I really hope Frist moves a sense of the Senate resolution to halt the NSA program so I can watch the Democrats run for the tall grass. Profiles in cowardice."

Me: I have an even better idea. Let's let one of the Democrats propose Posner's and Poindexter's measures as FISA-modifying legislation, combined with outlawing the current NSA program, and then watch the Republicans squirm while they try to explain why P. & P.'s loosenings of FISA aren't enough (without even knowing what Bush is actually doing with his wiretaps at this moment).

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 7, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Jamie Gorelick's 1994 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee: "[T]he Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has the inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes."

INHERENT AUTHORITY; MEANING HIS INDEPENDENT OF ANYTHING OTHER THAN IS ROLE AS PRESIDENT. YOU CAN PASS FISA, FISA II, FISA III, FISA IV, AND HE STILL HAS INHERENT PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY; JUST LIKE WITH CLINTON.

IF GORELICK MEANT "IMPLIED CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION", SHE WOULD HAVE SAID THAT.

IDIOTS.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Subjective partisan, why don't you just include us on your email list and forward us these messages, rather than taking up the thread?

I would love to receive some of that objective analysis in my Inbox, so I can't possibly miss it.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. Again, A CLINTON JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DEMOCRAT, Schmidt: "[Specifically in reference to the NSA program:] But we cannot eliminate the need for extraordinary action in the kind of unforeseen circumstances presented by Sept.11. I do not believe the Constitution allows Congress to take away from the president the inherent authority to act in response to a foreign attack. That inherent power is reason to be careful about who we elect as president, but it is authority we have needed in the past and, in the light of history, could well need again."

INHERENT AUTHORITY!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

TOH: "The point Gonzales is making, constitutionally, is the the President's had this power and Congress CANNOT take it away. Only a Constutional Amendment can do that. Since every federal court and Supreme Court has recognized this inherent power exists and has corroborated that where it exists it inclueds these types of situations, CONGRESS CANNOT ALTER THAT POWER in our nation's history, in 1978, or now. So FISA has no relevance as to the President's inherent constitutional power, recognized by the Supreme Court, to conduct espionage here or abroad."

TOH, if, indeed, Bush considers the '78 FISA law an inherently unconstitutional restriction of administrative power, why did he wait until now (5 years after commencement of the NSA warrentless wiretapping program) to say so? Why did the Bush Administration request (and receive), from Congress, several amendments to this allegedly unconstitutional law... without one time declaring the administration's belief in its inherently unconstitutional nature? Requesting congressional adjustments to the Executive's eavesdropping regulations seems to be an odd choice for an administration that believes that Congress has no right to regulate the Executive's eavesdropping activities.

If this administration genuinely believes that the FISA law is (and has always been) an unconstitutional encroachment of Congress upon Executive power, then why did Gonzalez, during his Attorney General confirmation hearings, testify that this administration does not engage in activities forbidden by Congressional law?

If this administration genuinely believes that the FISA law is (and has always been) an unconstitutional encroachment on Executive power, then why did Justice Department attorney James A. Baker testify that that no eavesdropping occurs without a federal judge first finding that all of the requirements of FISA are met?

If, as the Administration now claims, FISA is unconstitutional, why did it never say so even as it was assuring us it was complying with FISA, even as it was requesting (and receiving) amendments to FISA? At any time, the Administration could have simply told Congress: "there is no need to amend FISA to give us increased eavesdropping powers because we're not complying with it anyway. It's unconstitutional, and it has been since it passed in 1978."

Of course, TOH, they said nothing of the sort. They kept it all a big, unneccessary secret... until they were caught. That is not the conduct of officials who believe that what they are doing is legal and proper. People lie to conceal their behavior only when they believe that their behavior is wrong, not when they believe their behavior is justifiable.

Your credulity is touching, however. Almost childlike in its trust of those in power. I envy it, in a way.

Patrick Meighan
Venice, CA

Posted by: Patrick Meighan on February 7, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

objective historian, this is really sad. although you claim to understand that "inherent authority" isn't limitless, you write like you don't understand that basic point.

after all, what does "inherent authority" mean? it means that although the constitution doesn't specifically say "the president may order wiretaps in the pursuit of foreign-intelligence," there are other explicit statements in the constitution that would imply he's got that authority.

but as i've tried patiently to show even an idiot like you, "inherent" authority is not limitless. It can be bounded, and there is nothing wrong about bounding it. That's why Justice Powell (sigh, this is getting boring to keep repeating) in the Keith case called for congress to enact "statutory guidelines."

No one is denying there is a zone of "inherent authority." The area in question is what are the limits of that inherent authority. FISA was written - at the invitation of the supreme court, who should know - to provide those guidelines. Until and unless the supreme court strikes down FISA, the explicit requirement of the president is to see that the laws are faithfully executed.

it's like talking to a child, i swear.

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Excellent beatdown and recap Patrick.

Thanks for that. Great stuff.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm,

The whole objective is to dominate and poison the thread so no real sharing of ideas and information is possible. This is what is rewarded in the Troll World. (No, I can't tell you what the reward is...maybe it is an autographed photo of Karl Rove....maybe it is an authentic certificate with a real facsimile signature of GW himself...Wow!) Posting under one name might even be done in tandem -- kind of a tag-team as they take turns madly copying and pasting. You can tell it is a copy and paste job because there is absolutely no literary syle (even bad style) that is consistent within the writings of one individual.

At the end of the day, it is pure shillery.

Posted by: jcricket on February 7, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

NO, YOU COULDN'T BE MORE WRONG.

YOU IMPLY THERE ARE NO PRESIDENTIAL POWERS THAT CONGRESS CANNOT TAKE AWAY BY PASSING LAWS. NOT TRUE; ALONG WITH THE WRITTEN POWERS CONGRESS CANNOT TAKE AWAY BY PASSING LAWS, THERE ARE UNWRITTEN, CASE-LAW CONFIRMED AND HISTORY-ESTABLISHED POWERS THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS THAT TRUMP CONGRESS' LAW. THAT IS BLUE LETTER LAW, CLOWN. IN FACT IT IS 100% WRONG AND IGNORANT TO SAY: THE EXECUTIVE'S ONLY POWER IS TO ENFORCE LAWS PASSED BY CONGRESS. NO.

AND, CASE LAW AND HISTORY INDICATE THAT THE PRESIDENT CAN CONDUCT REASONABLE SEARCHES UNDER THE 4TH AMENDMENT REGARDLESS OF CONGRESSIONAL LAWS.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

howard, excellent vigilance on your part as well. this thread is quite enjoyable as a passive reader.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Highlights from Sunday's NY Times piece on Gonzales ( http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/politics/05gonzales.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print ):

(1) "Some Republicans are expected to be just as aggressive as Democrats in the questioning, but it is not clear whether they all will be grilling Alberto Gonzales as attorney general or as White House counsel.

"Some legal experts see Mr. Gonzales as little more than a surrogate for President Bush, whom he has served in a variety of capacities since 1997, when Mr. Bush was governor of Texas.

" 'Nothing in Al Gonzales's public statements, legislative proposals or anything else suggests that this is an individual who operates outside of the political gyroscope of President Bush,' said Bruce Fein, an associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration." [Yet another pinko.]


(2) "Michael A. Olivas, a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center, where Mr. Gonzales once taught, calls him 'one of my three Republican friends,' even though they disagree on almost every issue.

"Mr. Olivas said Mr. Gonzales's effectiveness as a lawyer was made clear to him years ago when Mr. Bush, as the governor, was summoned for jury duty. Concerned that a past charge against Mr. Bush for driving while intoxicated might become public, Mr. Gonzales succeeded in getting Mr. Bush excused from jury service, arguing that Mr. Bush's power to pardon those convicted created a conflict of interest.

" 'When I heard that,' said Mr. Olivas, a Democrat, 'I knew that if I ever needed defending, Alberto Gonzales is my guy.' "

Yep. If you want a long-time professional at covering up Bush scandals as the nation's top law enforcement officer, Alberto Gonzales is definitely your guy.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 7, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

patrick: excellent work! it takes fresh eyes to see some of the other inanities in objective's work that those of us who have been laboring the past few hours missed....

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Subjective Propagandist, search and seizures with less than a .01% hit rate are not "reasonable" by any legal standard.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Subjective Propagandist, search and seizures with less than a .01% hit rate are not "reasonable" by any legal standard.

Even your own.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

(No, I can't tell you what the reward is...maybe it is an autographed photo of Karl Rove....maybe it is an authentic certificate with a real facsimile signature of GW himself...Wow!)

I think it's a decoder ring.

TOH: The message is "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine," OK?

Now, be quiet and eat your cookies. The grownups are talking.

Posted by: hamletta on February 7, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

here's a new one: "congressional laws." let's see, you mean the "law of the land," doncha?

no, the president doesn't make the law in any way, shape, or form. the president does have certain kinds of authority that are unique to him: the president must sign the law, for instance, which congress can't take away (we'll ignore alito's screwy interpretation of what that means). the president can pardon, for which there is no review. the president is commander-in-chief, and congress can't change that. the president must report on the state of the union, and congress can't tell him not to.

but the president doesn't determine what is and is not legal in america. there are countries - we call them "dictatorships" - where the executive gets to decide everything. perhaps you'd be more comfortable in one of those places, objective?

jimm: too kind.

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

IT'S JUST SO STUPID:

REGARDLESS OF THE OPINION TO WHICH YOU ARE REFERRING, THE SUPREME COURT DOES NOT HAVE THE CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY TO INVITE CONGRESS TO TAKE AWAY THE PRESIDENT'S INHERENT AUTHORITY. YOU PEOPLE KEEP WISHING THE PRESIDENT OUT OF HIS CO-EQUAL PLACE AMONG THE THREE BRANCHES.

THERE IS ONLY TWO WAYS TO TAKE AWAY THE PRESIDENT'S INHERENT AUTHORITY; CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT OR A FINDING BY THE SUPREME COURT THAT THE PRESIDENT ACTED UNREASONABLY. CONGRESS IS POWERLESS TO EFFECT THE PRESIDENT'S INHERENT AUTHORITY AND THE SUPREME COURT'S POWER TO EFFECT IT IS LIMITED TO THEIR INTERPRETIVE LEEWAY IN APPLYING THE FOURTH AMENDMENT. WHATEVER THE SUPREME COURT WROTE IS SUBSTANTIALLY MEANINGLESS DICTA LIKE 50% OF EVERY SUPREME COURT OPINION.

AGAIN, THE SUPREME COURT DO NOT HAVE THE POWER UNDER THE CONSTITUTION TO INVITE CONGRESS TO TAKE POWER FROM THE PRESIDENT. IF YOU THINK IT DOES OR ANYONE THINKS IT DOES, THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE CONSTITUTION.

PUT ANOTHER WAY: FISA IS IRRELEVANT TO DETERMINING THE PRESIDENT'S REASONABLENESS IN CONDUCTING THESE SEARCHES UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. THE JURISPRUDENCIAL ANALYSIS WOULD BE THE SAME WITH OR WITHOUT FISA BECAUSE THE CONSTITUTION TRUMPS FISA REGARDLESS OF THIS "INVITATION" BUSINESS.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

Howard:

Just as the right to abortion is not ennumerated, the President has powers other than those you've listed.

And, the Supreme Court, not the President determines if the President can defy the Congress' laws.

The law of the land is the Constitution, not Congress' laws. Their laws only apply where they do not interfere with Constitutional rights of office holders or citizens. Thus, if Congress passes a law that outlaws 1st trimester abortions and a doctor performs one, he has not broken the law qua the law of the land qua the Constitution.

Look, you're all desperately wrong here.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

well, it's come to this: objective historian, after braying his way through a variety of jackass opinions, demonstrating his ignorance of important issues, and generally behaving like an idiot, at last sends us an all-cap screed that makes no sense at all.

in objective historian's world, there is no limit on presidential power.

in objective historian's world, laws are irrelevant.

in objective historian's world, when congress passes a military spending bill, the president can ignore it, because, after all, he's commander-in-chief and who is congress to tell him he can't have 50 battalions.

in objective historian's world, the president is just another civil libertarian protestor, speaking truth to power and violating the law of the land out of his pursuit of the higher truth of inherent authority as implicitly suggested in the constitution. I can't imagine how coretta scott king didn't see in george bush a kindred spirit to her late husband....

in fact, now that i think of it, maybe objective historian is simply our attorney general, practicing up for tomorrow!

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

That's better TOH...you better stay away from the 4th amendment and "reasonable" searches. Inherent authority is your last remaining smokescreen, and only because non-legal scholars actually buy it.

"Inherent authority" is like the "Plame wasn't covert" argument...lots of fun while there is still no final determination, but at least in the "Plame wasn't covert" there was actually hope for legal scholar wingnuts in the outcome.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

Well, this has been a gas, everyone! I'm going to hit the sack.

Good job all the way around. Props to Patrick, Howard, Pale Rider, and everyone else who would not allow deceit to have the last say.

To TOH, a special encore message from me to you -- as I told you last night:

TOH, after reading your posts, I can honestly say that I have seen greater nuggets of wisdom while scooping the cat's litter box.


... But keep taking your meds.


Better living through chemistry, and all that.

Posted by: jcricket on February 5, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Good night -- see (read?) you all tomorrow.

Posted by: jcricket on February 7, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Look, you're all desperately wrong here.

No, you are desperately hoping that we are wrong, but something tells me you sense otherwise. Follow your instincts, and stop humiliating yourself.

You've come part of the way by ditching the FULL CAPS. Keep coming.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

One more time:

THE LAW OF THE LAND (the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court) does not always require the President to obey Congress' law. This is one of those cases and/or it is utterly legitimate based on federal and Supreme Court precedent and U.S. history for Bush to claim so. Read that Schmidt (Clinton Justice Department) article again.

VICTORY!

Have a safe trip back to Narnia; make sure your tin-foil-hats are on tight.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

tell us you were home-schooled, objective historian, please tell us that! i mean, i worry about our educational system a lot, but seeing the kind of idiocy that you spill out makes me unbelievably nervous about what our schools are doing.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, but the federal register isn't just a scrapbook of eccentric notions that seized various congresspeople: it's the law of the land. you really don't understand that? you think it's just "congress's law?" sheesh you're an idiot.

sometimes congress passes laws that are unconstitutional, but until the supreme court rules that way, they still have to be enforced. it's not optional.

Just for the record, yes, the president has other "powers." i didn't say my list was exhaustive. however, those "powers" do not include the right to set aside laws, nor the right to create laws.

just as you were wrong about Clinton and physical searches and FISA (so sorry that you had to have your bubble burst on that one), you are wrong about the basic premises of our constitutional system.

please tell us you're home-schooled.

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

THE LAW OF THE LAND (the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court) does not always require the President to obey Congress' law. This is one of those cases and/or it is utterly legitimate based on federal and Supreme Court precedent and U.S. history for Bush to claim so.

The "and/or" pretty much gives away TOH's desperate attempts to stave off cognitive dissonance about his commander-in-chief. If he was confident as he claims to be, obviously an "and" would have done fine.

Instead, TOH is just articulating the possibilities that save his preordained conclusion, and I'm sensing that our objective historian is figuring this out...slowly, but surely.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

jcricket: excellent dismissal. and so, as one last attempt to counter deceit before i take the real garbage out, let's simply say to objective: you're utterly, massively wrong.

there are no circumstances where the president has the right to break any frickin' law, and i don't care if it was passed by the city council of some podunk locale and the president is just passing through. you've invented a completely phony category - "congressional law" - that wouldn't even pass muster in a Federalist Society bull session.

Bush is welcome to claim that FISA is a bad law, at which point, his job is to work with Congress to change it.

Bush is welcome to challenge the constitutionality of FISA, at which point he should hope that the ACLU suit that was recently filed rapidly goes to the Supreme Court.

But he is not welcome to break the law. That is the one and only reason that the term "impeachment" comes up here: because, frankly, Bush intends to continue to break the law and there is nothing to stop him. He won't be arrested for it; even if the supreme court rules against him, my bet is he won't stop.

As Bruce Fein, an impeccably conservative lawyer who worked in the Reagan administration justice department, wrote last week:

The question Mr. Bush and his surrogates evade can be simply stated: What constitutional authority empowers the president to nullify a federal statute that balances the privacy of U.S. citizens within the United States against national security in times of war because he prefers unconstrained spying?

http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/bfein.htm

And as fein said on the Diane Rehm show:

QUESTION: Is spying on the American people as impeachable an offense as lying about having sex with an intern?

BRUCE FEIN, constitutional scholar and former deputy attorney general in the Reagan Administration: I think the answer requires at least in part considering what the occupant of the presidency says in the aftermath of wrongdoing or rectification. On its face, if President Bush is totally unapologetic and says I continue to maintain that as a war-time President I can do anything I want I dont need to consult any other branches that is an impeachable offense. Its more dangerous than Clintons lying under oath because it jeopardizes our democratic dispensation and civil liberties for the ages. It would set a precedent that would lie around like a loaded gun, able to be used indefinitely for any future occupant.

http://thinkprogress.org/2005/12/20/conservative-scholars-argue-bush%E2%80%99s-wiretapping-is-an-impeachable-offense/

i think i'll take the words of justice jackson, justice powell, bruce fein, and other adults over the ravings of you, objective....

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

jimm, interesting comment: can objective historian actually...learn? it's worth watching for....

Posted by: howard on February 7, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

NO PRESIDENT IS ABOVE THE LAW
by US Senator Robert C. Byrd
Floor Speech
December 19, 2005

...Now comes the stomach-churning revelation through an executive order, that President Bush has circumvented both the Congress and the courts. He has usurped the Third Branch of government the branch charged with protecting the civil liberties of our people by directing the National Security Agency to intercept and eavesdrop on the phone conversations and e-mails of American citizens without a warrant, which is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. He has stiff-armed the Peoples Branch of government. He has rationalized the use of domestic, civilian surveillance with a flimsy claim that he has such authority because we are at war. The executive order, which has been acknowledged by the President, is an end-run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which makes it unlawful for any official to monitor the communications of an individual on American soil without the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

What is the President thinking? Congress has provided for the very situations which the President is blatantly exploiting. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, housed in the Department of Justice, reviews requests for warrants for domestic surveillance. The Court can review these requests expeditiously and in times of great emergency. In extreme cases, where time is of the essence and national security is at stake, surveillance can be conducted before the warrant is even applied for.

This secret court was established so that sensitive surveillance could be conducted, and information could be gathered without compromising the security of the investigation. The purpose of the FISA Court is to balance the governments role in fighting the war on terror with the Fourth Amendment rights afforded to each and every American.

The American public is given vague and empty assurances by the President that amount to little more than trust me. But, we are a nation of laws and not of men. Where is the source of that authority he claims? I defy the Administration to show me where in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or the U.S. Constitution, they are allowed to steal into the lives of innocent America citizens and spy.

When asked yesterday what the source of this authority was, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had no answer. Secretary Rice seemed to insinuate that eavesdropping on Americans was acceptable because FISA was an outdated law, and could not address the needs of the government in combating the new war on terror. This is a patent falsehood. The USA Patriot Act expanded FISA significantly, equipping the government with the tools it needed to fight terrorism. Further amendments to FISA were granted under the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2002 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002. In fact, in its final report, the 9/11 Commission noted that the removal of the pre-9/11 wall between intelligence officials and law enforcement was significant in that it opened up new opportunities for cooperative action.

The President claims that these powers are within his role as Commander in Chief. Make no mistake, the powers granted to the Commander in Chief are specifically those as head of the Armed Forces. These warrantless searches are conducted not against a foreign power, but against unsuspecting and unknowing American citizens. They are conducted against individuals living on American soil, not in Iraq or Afghanistan. There is nothing within the powers granted in the Commander in Chief clause that grants the President the ability to conduct clandestine surveillance of American civilians. We must not allow such groundless, foolish claims to stand.

The President claims a boundless authority through the resolution that authorized the war on those who perpetrated the September 11th attacks. But that resolution does not give the President unchecked power to spy on our own people. That resolution does not give the Administration the power to create covert prisons for secret prisoners. That resolution does not authorize the torture of prisoners to extract information from them. That resolution does not authorize running black-hole secret prisons in foreign countries to get around U.S. law. That resolution does not give the President the powers reserved only for kings and potentates.

I continue to be shocked and astounded by the breadth with which the Administration undermines the constitutional protections afforded to the people, and the arrogance with which it rebukes the powers held by the Legislative and Judicial Branches. The President has cast off federal law, enacted by Congress, often bearing his own signature, as mere formality. He has rebuffed the rule of law, and he has trivialized and trampled upon the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizures guaranteed to Americans by the United States Constitution.

We are supposed to accept these dirty little secrets. We are told that it is irresponsible to draw attention to President Bushs gross abuse of power and Constitutional violations. But what is truly irresponsible is to neglect to uphold the rule of law. We listened to the President speak last night on the potential for democracy in Iraq. He claims to want to instill in the Iraqi people a tangible freedom and a working democracy, at the same time he violates our own U.S. laws and checks and balances? President Bush called the recent Iraqi election a landmark day in the history of liberty. I dare say in this country we may have reached our own sort of landmark. Never have the promises and protections of Liberty seemed so illusory. Never have the freedoms we cherish seemed so imperiled.

These renegade assaults on the Constitution and our system of laws strike at the very core of our values, and foster a sense of mistrust and apprehension about the reach of government.

I am reminded of Thomas Paynes famous words, These are the times that try mens souls.

These astounding revelations about the bending and contorting of the Constitution to justify a grasping, irresponsible Administration under the banner of national security are an outrage. Congress can no longer sit on the sidelines. It is time to ask hard questions of the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the CIA. The White House should not be allowed to exempt itself from answering the same questions simply because it might assert some kind of executive privilege in order to avoid further embarrassment.

Posted by: Carpe Rummy on February 7, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Via the Huffington Post, it appears that the administration is going to great lengths in making sure that all the GOP members of the senate judiciary committeee fall in line on this issue, as otherwise the I word looms over the horizon.

Clearly, the advisors in the white house are not as sure of the correctness of their legal position as some of the asslickers on this board.

GWB:'I did not evesdrop on that man'.

Posted by: lib on February 7, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060206/ap_on_he_me/healthbeat_chlamydia

Another new disease breaking out in...as usual the gay community.

Posted by: McA on February 7, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK
"Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us." - Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), 2/6/06

I'm sure the hundreds of thousands of American veterans who have given their lives over 3 centures and countless wars, to establish and to defend our freedom and Constitution, will be comforted by our cowardice in the aftermath of 9-11.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

to establish and to defend our freedom and Constitution, will be comforted by our cowardice in the aftermath of 9-11.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Like the left-wing movement that contains cartoonists who make fun of veteran amputees really gets the support of any soldier, dead or alive.

Posted by: McA on February 7, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

THIS WILL END ALL RESISTENCE; READ ON TO THE CLINTON '94 PHYSICAL SEARCHES.

People:

INHERENT AUTHORITY FOR WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE is such because it is not in violation of the 4th Amendment. When INHERENT AUTHORITY becomes unreasonable, it is.

So, if Clinton did not have the INHERENT AUTHORITY to physically search that CIA traitor's home, how was he able to do it? He broke into the guy's home, right? That is against the law, no. State law for sure and probably some federal laws, too. Where did he get the authority to "break the law" (if not the '94 version of FISA per se)? Um . . . the tooth fairy? No. The Constitution. So did Clinton break the law in '94? NO! Can Congress pass a law that takes away the President's INHERENT AUTHORITY (that Clinton used in '94) under the Constitution? NO!

See that is the death knell because while FISA '94 did not include physical searches, there were probably 5-10 other state and Congressional laws that Clinton "broke" [i.e., defied as per his Constitutional inherent authority] when he warrantlessly physically searched the CIA traitor's house. Inherent authority precedent set by Clinton (among others), match won.

GET AROUND THAT, CLOWNS.

THAT IS TOO GOOD; YOU KNOW YOUR DONE. IRONCLAD VICTORY.

TOH

P.S. AND WHAT ABOUT ESCHELON UNDER CLINTON?

P.P.S. Once again the Regressive-Democrats have proven what utter self-deluded nabobs they are.

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

And just like that TOH falls all the way back.

What happened...just got a fresh email?

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

The "and/or" only serves to counter the absurd notion that this is settled law and thus grounds for, if anything, anything other than a Supreme Court ruling (i.e., not grounds for aspersions much less impeachment).

So Bush is either right or a legitimate claimant to one side of an as yet undecided judicial determination.

He did nothing illegal.

TOH

P.S. You have to have an incisive intellect to understand this; that is why you do not.

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

The "and/or" only serves to counter the absurd notion that this is settled law and thus grounds for, if anything, anything other than a Supreme Court ruling (i.e., not grounds for aspersions much less impeachment).

So Bush is either right or a legitimate claimant to one side of an as yet undecided judicial determination.

He did nothing illegal.

TOH

P.S. You have to have an incisive intellect to understand this; that is why you do not.

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

You people are such losers.

I'M REVELLING IN VICTORY; I DON'T SUSPECT BUSH IS WRONG AT ALL. I THINK HE'S RIGHT, BUT EVEN IF HE'S NOT HE 100% HAS A BONA FIDE CLAIM. YOU'RE DESPERATE HOPES THAT HE DOES NOT ARE IGNORANT, SELF-SERVING POLITICALLY, RIDICULOUSLY SUBSTANTIATED, AND PATHETIC.

But lessening power for 25 years now will do that to the misguided and increasingly impotent.

Excuse me; I have to get some sleep. We who actually run this country need to attend to matters while you continue to engage in echo chamber, self-congratulatory, mega-delusional, inanities.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

I was watching the BBC tonight (more Regressive-Labor than even the New York Times). They were reporting on Gonzales' testimony and concluded with this:

"ROUND ONE TO BUSH."

Ha!

Get ready for a knock out!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

We who actually run this country need to attend to matters while you continue to engage in echo chamber, self-congratulatory, mega-delusional, inanities.

Sepp holds elected office? Who knew?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 7, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

The trolls also get so touchy when we poke at their Fuhrerprinzip, don't they.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 7, 2006 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

McA: Another new disease breaking out in...as usual the gay community.

Wrong! Guess where it originates, sweetie? Care to guess? Oh, okay. I'll tell you since you didn't bother to read your own news link.

"This more virulent strain is called "lymphogranuloma venereum," or LGV. It's not a new form, but one rarely seen outside of Africa or Southeast Asia."

I have read on other threads that you're an Asian. So don't worry about me. Your worry is best directed in your own ass-turf. : )

--TGM

"If you don't practice safe sex, you're not TGM."

Posted by: The Gay Millionaire on February 7, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

JUST DAWNED ON ME . . .

how deluded you people are.

You don't get it on a lot of levels, but this is just one. In order for you to win out over Bush here, you have to establish that he clearly, unequivocably violated the Constitution and thus "broke the law". All he and his supporters need to show is that his interpretation of the Constitution was a bona fide one. If they can win outright, that is all bonus. That is the only reason I've been writing about both aspects to this. You're best hope is that he's bona fide and wrong which gets you nothing. What I've written thus far proves he is at least has a bona fide claim. I also think he is right, but all he needs is the bona fide claim to win. AND HE CLEARLY DOES.

I think even Howard will admit he has a bona fide claim based on the unsettled aspects of this. There is no Roe v. Wade quasi-legislative judical ruling.

Sorry, clowns.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

The Objectionable Alicepattonian once again sneaks in in the dead of night to try and palm off her counterfeit currency expecting it to be treated as though she didn't have a history of passing on the false. There's a word for this sort of behavior... and it's not incisive.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 7, 2006 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

I see you used 'bona fide' four times in one posting! Good work! Here's your cookie, now toddle off to bed before we strap you down for the night!

Posted by: The Objective Historian's Night Nurse on February 7, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

There's a word for this sort of behavior... and it's not incisive.

We have a few words for it too. That's why she has her own personal padded cell.

Posted by: The Objective Historian's Night Nurse on February 7, 2006 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK

Wasn't it a great American who said that the reason We The People have laws is to prevent tyranny?

The conduct of the Attorney General is that of a sycophant, a person who is not interested in the law but in what can be done at the behest of the President. That much is very clear. Also very clear is that the AG is trying to avoid being ground up in the current struggle that he himself helped cause between the Executive, the Congress, the Courts, and the People. For, the 4th Amendment is about the People and the tendency of all States to abuse power.

It is very odd how, in an alleged period of wartime, how the Great Leader's coterie have little patience for assuring a substantial party of the citizenry that they are following the will of the Congress. No, that is not only strange but also likely criminal and possibly treasonous. For, when one gets into crimes against the People, one is subject not only to temptation and illegality but also subject to blackmail from anyone, any extra-governmental organizations, any foreign powers, that know of the malfeasance.

I think that one critical question that has not been answered is there any evidence that communications intercepted in the extra-Constitutional NSA program(s) may have been intercepted or passed to a foreign power or powers? For, when you hide from the American People the existance of such a program, you make the temptation to profit from that knowledge that much greater, that much more juicy, to foreign interests. It gives them blackmail power of our own Executive.

Now, this so-called President has put himself in the position where he believes that a threat to the nation's security may, in fact, be the legitimate election of any opposing factions into the People's Body, our Congress. Has he taken action to secure a single party State to avoid checks and balances and to avoid oversight. That is the question now foremost on the mind of true patriots and believers in the Constitutions true value.

Has he put political operatives in charge of these black programs? Is there some sort of shadow governmental system in existence in which scrutiny from the Congress and the Courts is subverted? Tyranny comes in many guises but its face is always the same. It is the denial of oversight by the People by the few. The denial of self-government "because We know what is best" rather than trusting in all the people that went before and will come after. It is a fear of the People that drives the tyrant. In the tyrants mind, the People themselves become the danger. And the question now is have We The People become a danger to our own Executive? Because, if the Executive believes this is so and has acted on that belief, the Executive is acting only in the Executive's behalf and not that of the People.

So, I ask the People's dually elected representatives in our Congress to make sure that political cronyism has not entered America's national security apparatus, officially or unofficially, it does not matter...what matters is that we all find out and the sooner the better.

Posted by: parrot on February 7, 2006 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

You sound pretty worried about that "and/or" business, TOH, since you seem anxious to explain why you are playing both sides of the fence there in your last post.

I'm sensing a lack of confidence and certainty. Go with it. Change is revelatory.

Posted by: Jimm on February 7, 2006 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Good night, sweetie darlings.

My best to all you fantastically brilliant liberals. Here you are the undisputed majority.

Are there any smart conservatives anymore? Gracious! I haven't spotted one in eons.

Beauty sleep and my honey beckons.

XOXO,

--TGM
"Thank you, God, for making me gay!"

Posted by: The Gay Millionaire on February 7, 2006 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum should stop whining that it is Gonzalez' job to correct media accounts.

Kevin Drum could check the lawyers at PowerLineBlog - they have done a fantastic job of reporting on the issues surrounding the NSA program.

Oh, I forgot - Kevin is STILL fuming that PowerLine got TIME's 2004 Blog Of The Year award.

Posted by: GOPGregory on February 7, 2006 at 3:51 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, FISA does not limit the President's executive power.

Kevin Drum should read the Constitution - Congress can not limit powers that are granted by the Constitution.

Posted by: GOPGregory on February 7, 2006 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

Wasn't it a great American who said that the reason We The People have laws is to prevent tyranny?

Posted by: parrot on February 7, 2006 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

But that would apply to congress trying to grab powers it doesn't have too. Which applying FICA to wartime powers might be.

Nya-nya!

Posted by: McA on February 7, 2006 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

Congress can not limit powers that are granted by the Constitution.

You are correct, Congress cannot grant the president the power to conduct warrantless wiretaps, because doing so would violate the Fourth Amendment by limiting rights which the Constitution clearly grants to the people.

Thanks for pointing that out. Now that we are in agreement that the president is violating the Constitution, do you recommend impeachment?

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Posted by: 免费电影 on February 7, 2006 at 5:32 AM | PERMALINK

But that would apply to congress trying to grab powers it doesn't have too. Which applying FICA to wartime powers might be.

Nya-nya!

Posted by: McA

First, that is FISA, not FICA you ignorant slob. You have made that mistake repeatedly in this thread despite numerous examples within the thread of the correct acronym. Typical of your poor understanding of even the most basic facts.

As for that charmingly misnamed TOH, the big problem with the claim that the President's "inherent powers" as the commander-in-chief override all attempts by Congress to provide limits or direction to those powers is that this is explicity contradicted by the Constitution.

Section 1, Article 8 says that Congress shall have the power:
"To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules regarding Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that use shall be for a Term longer than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, supress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining, the Militia, and for governign such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

These are rather extensive and detailed powers related to the armed forces and which would specifically impact the President's powers as specified under the much briefer portion of Article 2 Section 2 that merely state "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;..."

It is difficult to imagine how the relative powers awarded to each branch of government under those clauses could not give the Congress the determine to for example, what constitutes an emergency situation in which the President can commit the armed forces to combat without a declaration of war, or what procedures to follow in such situations as the War Powers Act does, or to specify the process under which the President can carry out necessary intelligence gathering activities without infringing on the rights of American citizens or permanent legal residents as FISA does.

Neither of these acts have been ruled unconstitutional, despite numerous occassions under which any of the President's of the last 30 years might have challenged the laws. In the absence of such a ruling, the laws must be presumed to be constitutional and it is the clear responsibility of the President under Article 2 Section 3 to "take Care that the Laws shall be faithfully executed."

Posted by: tanj on February 7, 2006 at 5:45 AM | PERMALINK

TOH, you failed to answer even one of my questions, so I ask them again:

If, indeed, Bush considers the '78 FISA law an inherently unconstitutional restriction of administrative power, why did he wait until now (5 years after commencement of the NSA warrentless wiretapping program) to say so? Why did the Bush Administration request (and receive), from Congress, several amendments to this allegedly unconstitutional law... without one time declaring the administration's belief in its inherently unconstitutional nature? Requesting congressional adjustments to the Executive's eavesdropping regulations seems to be an odd choice for an administration that believes that Congress has no right to regulate the Executive's eavesdropping activities.

If this administration genuinely believes that the FISA law is (and has always been) an unconstitutional encroachment of Congress upon Executive power, then why did Gonzalez, during his Attorney General confirmation hearings, testify that this administration does not engage in activities forbidden by Congressional law?

If this administration genuinely believes that the FISA law is (and has always been) an unconstitutional encroachment on Executive power, then why did Justice Department attorney James A. Baker testify that no eavesdropping occurs without a federal judge first finding that all of the requirements of FISA are met?

If, as the Administration now claims, FISA is unconstitutional, why did it never say so even as it was assuring us it was complying with FISA, even as it was requesting (and receiving) amendments to FISA? At any time, the Administration could have simply told Congress: "there is no need to amend FISA to give us increased eavesdropping powers because we're not complying with it anyway. It's unconstitutional, and it has been since it passed in 1978." Why did they not do so? Why did none of this happen until the day the administration was caught violating FISA?

"In order for you to win out over Bush here, you have to establish that he clearly, unequivocably violated the Constitution and thus "broke the law". All he and his supporters need to show is that his interpretation of the Constitution was a bona fide one. If they can win outright, that is all bonus. That is the only reason I've been writing about both aspects to this. You're best hope is that he's bona fide and wrong which gets you nothing. What I've written thus far proves he is at least has a bona fide claim."

That's a very low standard of behavior you're setting for our elected leaders. You seem not to care if what they're doing is actually legal, so long as they can at least claim that *they* think it's legal. Your credulity and non-critical obedience to executive power may be good news for our president, but it's bad news for our republic, and I hope it's not shared by many of our fellow American citizens.

Patrick Meighan
Venice, CA

Posted by: Patrick Meighan on February 7, 2006 at 7:09 AM | PERMALINK

tanj on February 7, 2006 at 5:45 AM

It's a bit simpler than that. The president is the Commander In Chief of the Army and Navy, etc. The NSA is not part of any of that. It is a civilian agency, subject to congressional control.

And the president, as head of the executive branch is tasked to see that the laws be faithfully executed.

Posted by: raj on February 7, 2006 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

These are rather extensive and detailed powers related to the armed forces and which would specifically impact the President's powers as specified under the much briefer portion of Article 2 Section 2 that merely state "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;..."

Posted by: tanj on February 7, 2006 at 5:45 AM | PERMALINK

And Congress declared war on Al-Qaeda ages ago.
So its all good.

Pfffft and if they want to stop him, they can pass a motion specifically excluding warrentless wiretaps of half-foreign conversations from their war powers....but who controls Congress. Nya-nya-nya!

I make lot of typos 'cos liberals don't deserve my full attention when they are this stupid.

Go ahead an impeach or introduce a motion against the interpretation. It'll help the Republicans moore than it'll hurt.

Posted by: McA on February 7, 2006 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

I make lot of typos 'cos liberals don't deserve my full attention when they are this stupid.

Why not just admit that you can't speak the language, can't write properly and can't understand the complexity of the topics that are presented to you?

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Sure, 9/11 changed everything. Unfortunately, it did not make this administration the least bit competent. Just afraid and power-hungry.

With respect, theorajones, I submit that the Bush/Cheney regime was already power-hungry. Cheney is on record at wanting to roll back the curbs on Executive power imposed in the wake of the Watergate/COINTELPRO/etc etc scandals of the 60s and 70s. All 9/11 changed in that regards was that they saw an opportunity to grab the power they already craved.

Posted by: Gregory on February 7, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

I was listening to radio news while fixing breakfast. I think I just heard that Sen. Spector stated that he feels AG Gonzales is "smoking Dutch cleanser".

Wow, not a lot of love there.

Posted by: Keith G on February 7, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

If TOH is demoralized enough to think that bona fides obviates law-breaking, and if he so unamerican as to think that the role of commander-in-chief permits any behavior whatsoever, why are we paying any attention to him?

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 7, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K: FISA, like the War Powers Act, was an attempt by the post-Watergate Congress to assume increased power at the expense of the executive. No president since Carter has accepted this power grab by Congress.

This is our talking point and we will keep stating it until we are blue in the face, no matter how intellectually or factually dishonest or hypocritical it is.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

howard, grape, et al, simply brilliant job in smacking down the idiots. But this bit of insanity truly takes the cake:

Just as the right to abortion is not ennumerated, the President has powers other than those you've listed.

For someone who bills him/her/itself as a "historian," this statement is supremely embarrassing. The Constitution says that the people retain rights not enumerated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (so, for example, a right to privacy need not be spelled out in the Constitution in order to exist; is the Constitution is silent, the people are presumed to have the right). Sheesh.

It's truly, truly astonishing to me what the wingnuts -- many of whom, I'm sure, would self-identify as "conservatives" -- have resorted to defending in order to excuse the mendacity, incompetence and corruption of the Bush Administration.

Oh, and TOH? For the last time, Gorelick and the Clinton DOJ testified, correctly, that FISA did not cover physical searches, and so the President could be assumed to have authority where the law was silent (in respect to wiretaps, of course, FISA is not at all silent, so this silly argument is irrelevant anyway). But then Clinton supported a change in the law to encompass physical searches, which passed, and then Clinton no longer conducted such searches except in accordance with the law. Gorelick's testimony does not excuse Bush's violation of the law, period. Rip that one up.

Posted by: Gregory on February 7, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

The best I can tell, the esteemed TOH would happily do away with the Congress and the Supreme Court. Just have the President and the Constitution. The President can do whatever he wants, doesn't need Congress or the SC.

Posted by: cq on February 7, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Al, et al., what war? Congress hasn't declared war "on terrorism".

Therefore, IF the President had such powers your saying he does when we're at war, there's a little problem with your argument.

We're not at war.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 7, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

McA,

At least the participants in the third world are trapped by drug use, poverty and gangs.... you guys are just trapped by denial and the unwillingness of your society to stand for anything.

So you play the victim card? Bwahahahahahahahahaha. Oh boo-effing-hoo.

Howsabout you clean up your own house before preaching about ours?

Oh, that's right, you are just a poor helpless victim with no power so the best you can do is play some righteous rightwing knowitall on the internet.

Wait - wait a minute - you and tbrosz have something in common! You should get together sometime and cry in your beer and hatch secret plots to save the world.

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Howard is still blathering. Amazing !

"but then we get to the kicker, and i must say, it's evidence that mike k actually is a left-wing plant! he says:

I strongly urge you to force your Senators to demand a vote on the NSA program and see how many are willing to disarm the US in the face of a mortal threat that most of you don't understand."

Go for it !

We need fewer Democratic Senators so we can defend the country. I know no better way than to expose the fecklessness of their core supporters.

"I really want to see an up or down vote on this program. Please, please, please demand it. Vote, Vote, Vote.

i say: i demand a vote, by all means. The problem is, george bush won't submit a piece of legislation. that's the essence, you blithering numbskull."

Do you really know so little about civics ? Do you really think that the President submits legislation ?

Do you know how to read ? Do I need to point you to a web site that contains the US Constitution ?

I suspected that the comments section, for all of Kevin's knowledge and talent for framing issues, contains a large share of clueless nincompoops.

I just didn't expect one to expose himself so obviously. I strongly urge you to go back to high school. I know they don't teach civics anymore and call it Social Studies but maybe you can pick up a few pointers about how our government works.

It will also help you get a job.

Here is a hint. Some bills have a designation of "HR." That means they originated in House Rules. Some have a designation of "SB." That means they originated in the Senate.

Have you ever seen a bill designated "P"?

Go back to high school and finish.

Posted by: Mike K on February 7, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Another new disease breaking out in...

Just when I think "Researcher"/"McAristotle" can't shame his/her/its chosen handles with any more breathtaking ignorance, he/she/it continues to amaze.

Chlamydia (sp?) is hardly a new disease. I know someone who had it back in the '80s, and he caught it from a woman. Fortunately, as STDs go, it's fairly minor, but isn't far from "new." Sheesh.

Posted by: Gregory on February 7, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

The BBC doesn't seem to be leaning in the direction of giving a "round" to Bush at all:

BBC NEWS
US senators probe spying policy
The US attorney general has told senators that spying on Americans' phone calls and emails abroad is a necessary part of the "war on terror".

Alberto Gonzales defended the policy in testimony to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But committee chairman Arlen Specter queried whether President George Bush had the authority to order the spying.

Critics say the electronic eavesdropping programme is illegal and infringes on civil liberties.

Mr Gonzales told the committee the US needed to find new ways to combat terrorism.

"In this new kind of war, it is both necessary and appropriate for us to take all possible steps to locate our enemy and know what they are plotting before they strike," he said.

He said that the eavesdropping programme was lawful and respected "the civil liberties we all cherish".

Legal review

Senator Specter, a Republican, said he was sceptical of the legality of the programme.

"The president of the United States has the fundamental responsibility to protect the country, but even... the president does not have a blank cheque," he said.

He suggested that the legality of the spying programme be reviewed by a federal court.

The panel's top Democrat, Senator Patrick Leahy, also voiced his concern over the legal justification for the spying.

"That authorisation said 'to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden' and to use the American military to do that," he said. "It did not authorise the domestic surveillance of American citizens."

The White House says that Mr Bush had power to order the surveillance under the constitution and under a resolution passed by Congress after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

But critics say the congressional resolution did not cover eavesdropping on Americans' telephone calls and emails abroad without special permission from the courts, and that Mr Bush has overstepped his authority.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/4687022.stm

Published: 2006/02/06 20:32:22 GMT

Does it sound like the BBC is taking a position declaring Bush a 'round winner' to you? ....Unless what TOH/Patton was watching was a guest pundit making the news show rounds trying to get that little meme into the daily vernacular. That would make sense.

Posted by: jcricket on February 7, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K: Do you really think that the President submits legislation?

Anybody can submit proposed legislation.

Lobbyists do it all the time.

Presidents do it all the time too.

And many private organizations.

Just like Bush gets to submit a budget, even though he has no constitutional authority over spending.

Go back to kissing Bush's pecker, you f*cking asshole, and quit spewing forth your stupidity as if it had any credibility after all the lies you've told on these threads.

It is you who needs the civics lesson and more schooling.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone bothered to read what the 911 commission report says about the FISA courts? Long live the terrorist surveillance program.

Posted by: Jay on February 7, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

This simple comparison explains it all:

Reichstag fire is to Hitler as 9/11 is to Bush.

All else follows logically from that. We are awaiting the "Enabling Act". It may not come in one fell swoop, may in fact come along with a series of "enabling acts" but the parallels will continue to grow (starting at the appointment of Bush as President in 2000 just as Hitler was appointed Chancellor in '33).

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 7, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K . . .

Here you f*cking moron is an overview of some legislation submitted by the Bush 43 administration.

It took all of five seconds to find legislation submitted to Congress by the Bush 43 administration.

Five seconds to prove you the pedantic idiot that you are.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Long live the terrorist surveillance program.

And here's good old Jay Shaver with his idiotic take on something he wouldn't understand if you drew it for him in crayon:

The president is NOT above the law and cannot use the NSA against US Persons. If NSA is directed against US Persons, they have to get a FISA warrant. End of story.

Thanks for playing, enjoy your afternoon off.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

And lest you quibble with the word "submitted" versus "proposed" you blithering moronic jackass, try this one . . .

President Bush has submitted legislation to Congress outlining his administration's vision of the ...

Your utter dishonesty is truly pathetic.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Howsabout you clean up your own house before preaching about ours?

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

We do.

"Death to drug traffickers under Malaysian law" is the official warning you get on the way in and prostitution is illegal throughout much of Asia. Just unenforcable because of corruption.

Besides why should we wait on letting you know what our values are, since you impose yours on the rest of world by pouring money into free condom programs that are inconsistent with local culture? Not as if you people have your house in order on sex/marriage and the family.

Sluttiness can be a value of cultural imperialism as much as prudishness.

---------------------

Chlamydia (sp?) is hardly a new disease.

Posted by: Gregory on February 7, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, but its the anti-biotic resistant strains of the old herpes, chlamydia and syphlis that will kill you. All of it arising in the sex trade and the Western homosexual culture.

Think flesh-eating diseases. They used to be regular diseases too.

What is quite odd is when gay rights groups sabotage their own communities. AIDS might not have devastated their communities so fiercely is gay groups didn't initially oppose study of the problem until it was too late. Many gay groups opposed current programs trying to oppose crystal meth linked unsafe sex because they were worried about their precious 'bathhouses' and stereotypes.

Why is Aids killing the African-american community? Because no one wants to talk about the bisexual black male subculture ....its offends too many interest groups.

Posted by: McA on February 7, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K: Go back to high school and finish.

900+ hits for Bush NEAR "submitted legislation" on AltaVista.

Take your own f*cking advice, but take it farther and go back to kindergarten which would suit your psychological age better.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Chlamydia (sp?) is hardly a new disease. I know someone who had it back in the '80s, and he caught it from a woman. Fortunately, as STDs go, it's fairly minor, but isn't far from "new." Sheesh.

It's not all that minor; symptomwise, they say it's not much, but untreated, it's a major cause of female infertility. They now think JFK had it and gave it to half of Washington.

I wonder if I could learn quantum physics if my head weren't filled with stuff like presidential STDs? I might need to add more memory.

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

McA: We do.

You've now filled your lie-a-day quota.

All of it arising in the sex trade and the Western homosexual culture.

Now you've doubled it.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Damn that Washington; should never have used my cell phone.

Posted by: Benedict Arnold on February 7, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

President Bush has submitted legislation to Congress outlining his administration's vision of the ...

Your utter dishonesty is truly pathetic.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

So how does he do this in secret you, moron?

Besides he told Senate Committees and Congressional committees, they could have asked for legislation. They didn't, so they didn't object to his interpretation of FISA as not applying to his war powers.


Posted by: McA on February 7, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

It is the job of the judicial branch to interpret the constitution (not the president, not the congress, and not the blogs).

Let the courts decide.

Posted by: Stephen on February 7, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

McA: So how does he do this in secret you, moron?

Gee, I guess the same way he "consulted" secretly with Congress on the NSA wiretaps in the first place.

Besides he told Senate Committees and Congressional committees, they could have asked for legislation. They didn't, so they didn't object to his interpretation of FISA as not applying to his war powers.

No, Bush says he told the committees this. That doesn't make it true and indeed given Bush's track record suggests just the opposite.

And besides by his own admission he didn't tell the committees; he told a few leaders of the committees some aspects of the program and withheld other aspects.

Just like Bush did with the pre-war intelligence on Iraq, which has been now proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Your utter dishonesty is truly pathetic.

Well, let's be fair. I think Mike K's dishonesty takes a back seat to his ignorance.

If he was a little smarter and better informed he'd catch a clue and keep his big silly mouth shut.

Posted by: obscure on February 7, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I guess we should arrest Bill Clinton for participation in a conspiracy to break and enter the CIA traitor's home in 1994 - according to the drooling dolts here. He did "break the law", right?

Or didn't he?

Can anyone here explain to me how Bush broke the law in '01-present whereas Bill Clinton (and the federal agents) did not break the law against tresspass and breaking and entering in 1994? This should be hilarious; and fascinating in terms of newly reached levels of contortion.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 7, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I guess we should arrest Bill Clinton for participation in a conspiracy to break and enter the CIA traitor's home in 1994 - according to the drooling dolts here.

Nice try. Did he use NSA?

Nope. Well, I guess he's in the clear, then.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

If the Republicans really blieved all this inherent authority stuff, why did a Republican dominated congress amend the FISA act to cover physical searches ?

Posted by: Stephen on February 7, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Do you really think that the President submits legislation ?

Let's be fair, here. Mike Kennedy is an old man who was given a computer by his kid, who he'll soon tell us is an FBI agent. Poor Kennedy has been wandering the Internet, looking for a friend, and he stumbled in here. Pity the poor man--when the Bush administration sent its budget proposal to the Congress yesterday, there was a cut in the very programs that would have allowed poor old Kennedy to get his dementia medication paid for with the very same government handouts he will rail against but shove into his back pocket...

Funny how you never see a Republican say, "no thanks--I don't want my free government handout that I don't need and wish my elected representative would never reduce or cut."

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Simple.
The law was changed AFTER 1994 AND BEFORE 2001.

Duh.

Posted by: kenga on February 7, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

obscure: If [Mike K] was a little smarter and better informed he'd catch a clue and keep his big silly mouth shut.

Well, he has those big tough guy/something to prove issues, too. I don't think he's going to get past that giant elephant in his little room.

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think he's going to get past that giant elephant in his little room.

Woo hoo!

Did you know that his kid is an FBI agent? Better watch that...

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

I love this constant whining by the trolls about "congress can't limit the president's authority".

Actually, yes they can. If any of them would bother to actually READ THE CONSTITUTION they would notice that, although the president is commander in chief, Congress "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces".

In other words, Congress has the power to limit the authority of the President by legislation, not Constitutional admendment.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 7, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

I think they are reading the version of the Constitution put out by the folks over at the NRO-

"Congress can't limit the President's authority if he's a Republican--nyaah nyaah nyaah!"

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

-shhh-
If they realize that Dr. Morpheus, they may be so befuddled and/or shocked into anaphylaxis (can one be allergic to the truth?) that they'll stop commenting. This thread has over 250 comments already - bumping up the numbers of yet another "lefty blog".

Posted by: kenga on February 7, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

McAnustotle: And the cartoon thing isn't exactly making anyone feel safe about the Muslim world.

Yeah. It's not like the West every over-reacts and kills a bunch of people because they are mad.

Oops, my mistake. Bush did just that in Iraq.

Which pretty much explains the conservative slogan: revenge is a dish best served with hypocrisy.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

In other words, Congress has the power to limit the authority of the President by legislation, not Constitutional admendment.

Congress is also given express authority to determine how prisoners are to be treated. The Constitution give NO authority to the President on this matter. All the Prez can do is follow the dictates of the Congress wrt prisoners and how they are to be handled.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 7, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I love this constant whining by the trolls about "congress can't limit the president's authority". Actually, yes they can.

At the risk of sounding like Grumpy Old Woman (um, just the "old" part would be wrong; I was a leetle child during Watergate), what the hell has happened to this country that Republicans would even be trying to argue this pathetic crap? When Nixon tried this unlimited executive powers garbage, his own party was all over him.

Where the hell is these people's self-respect, not to mention integrity and honor? Like I said last night, it doesn't matter if they "get hit" again. They truly are already dead.

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Well, he has those big tough guy/something to prove issues, too. I don't think he's going to get past that giant elephant in his little room

You would be correct-o-mundo, shortstop!

He's a certified fondler, polisher, oiler, cleaner, loader & discharger of the many firearms in his possession.

Prolly sleeps with 'em too....

Posted by: obscure on February 7, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

It's not all that minor; symptomwise, they say it's not much, but untreated, it's a major cause of female infertility. They now think JFK had it and gave it to half of Washington.

Apologies, shortstop, I didn't mean to belittle the disease. Any disease left untreated is bad news, but I was given to understand that it doesn't pose the threat that syphillis, herpes or AIDS do. My information could be wrong, of course, and again I certainly don't mean to belittle the disease or suggest that it's no big deal. The individual I mentioned *and* his significant other certainly got treatment de pronto.

FWIW, I'm told that in males it's nearly asymptomatic -- in other words, a male can carry it and not even realize it.

Of course, none of the above gives any comfort to McA's idiocy.

Posted by: Gregory on February 7, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

The gay community manages to equal third world sex industries as a vector for disease, its a remarkable achievement.

Fortunately, we do have standards, norms, and a sense of morality in our country, which is why you would be universally despised in most American institutions for saying what you just said, and might well lose your job or be sent to a mandatory sensitization course. Our norms and values may be different and more progressive than yours, but if you think we don't have any, you're making the same stupid, ill-educated error as Osama bin Laden.

The all time champion vector for disease, of course, was the British Empire. White people who don't bathe, carrying smallpox and pests around the world in little boats with their animals. And doing each other up the poophole the whole way, of course.

I don't know what you are, McA, a wannabe-Oxbridge peninsular Chinese, or an obsolete white colonial left behind by history. But you're definitely a vector for some pretty weird intellectual and political diseases.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 7, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Kenga: The law was changed AFTER 1994 AND BEFORE 2001.

That it was passed before 2001 doesn't change the meaning of the law one iota.

The events of September 11, 2001 did not change the law, did not rewrite the law, do not inform the law, do not authorize disregard of the law, and do not change the nature of our country's constitutional makeup.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

"A reader adds a point about FISA ...

The constant invocation of the practices of pre-FISA presidents is an incredibly important legal and constitutional point. If the president has the inherent authority to conduct surveillance, FISA might be unconstitutional. The main issue is whether Congress was able to limit this supposedly inherent authority with its enactment of FISA. Thus, the pre-FISA presidential precedent becomes an important issue."
-- Josh Marshall

Posted by: jerry on February 7, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

jerry: The president and his scruffy little lapdog of an AG don't seem to think so. See Patrick Meighan at 12:55 a.m.

Posted by: shortstop on February 7, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

"It's true that violence, corruption and criminality continue to pose challenges in Iraq" and are "so corrosive of democracy," [Rumsfeld] told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He's referring to his own actions and that of his boss.

Inadvertently of course.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

AIDS might not have devastated their communities so fiercely is gay groups didn't initially oppose study of the problem until it was too late.

Yeah, that was, like, the second biggest mistake ever, after the Jews asking Hitler to put them in those concentration camps.

Suggestion: read a book, you dolt. The gay community DROVE the research effort into HIV. ACT UP had to demonstrate on the lawn of NIH to get funding levels for AIDS research raised. It was gay activism that put AIDS research on the map; gay activism that got federal funding for ARV and OI treatment; gay activism that got the safe-sex message into the schools.

I have no idea what this has to do with anything, except maybe that you've come across some disturbingly attractive gay porn on the Net and are trying to exorcise those demons by posting fascist homophobic crap here. Take a cold shower.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 7, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

"Mike K . . .

Here you f*cking moron is an overview of some legislation submitted by the Bush 43 administration.

It took all of five seconds to find legislation submitted to Congress by the Bush 43 administration.

Five seconds to prove you the pedantic idiot that you are.

Posted by: Advocate for God"

I don't why I bother with you dopes. "Submitting" is a suggestion. The Executive Branch does NOT write legislation. There is no barrier to Congress writing its own legislation because that is what the Constitution establishes.

I suspect that a request by the minority party for a "sense of the Senate" resolution to stop NSA surveillance would be accepted by the majority leader in a millisecond. Then you would see how many of the phonies bloviating at the hearing would actually vote for it.

You really don't know the difference, do you ?

Progressive education. And they allow you to vote !

Posted by: Mike K on February 7, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

McA,

Howsabout you clean up your own house before preaching about ours?

We do.

"Death to drug traffickers under Malaysian law" is the official warning you get on the way in and prostitution is illegal throughout much of Asia. Just unenforcable because of corruption.

Bwahahahahahahahaha.

Saying you do something is not the same thing as, you know, actually doing it.

Is that why you like the right wing so much - they have the best empty slogans?

Face it, McA, you are impotent in your country and so you want to somehow force the US to clean it up for you.

Sorry, Charlie, the Republicans have absolutely no interest in doing any of that. They like having a slum country where they can go and practice their deviance out of sight. Haven't you figured that out yet?

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

GOPGregory, show me the exact clause in the Constitution that says the President doesn't have to obey the law.

I'll make it easier, show me the exact clause in the Constitution where it says he can conduct warrantless searchs.

On the other hand, the Constitution does give Congress the power, "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" which means that Congress CAN regulate the President's powers as commander-in-chief.


Got that through your thick skull? Congress decides how the military is run, not the President regardless of whether he's Commander-in-Chief or not.

So the President DOESN'T have greater authority in the conduct of war than does Congress, the Founders explicitly state this.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 7, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

The gay community manages to equal third world sex industries as a vector for disease, its a remarkable achievement.

Would those be the third world sex industries that American corporate leaders frequent and make available to people like Neal Bush?

The sex industries, both here and abroad, cater to conservative males, men who can't get non-paid-for women on their own.

Liberal males don't need such services.

Just ask Bill Clinton.

So, it appears that conservative males are the greatest vector of disease, forming as they do the incentive for the sex industries to exist.

Heterosexual men such as McAnustotle, in other words, not gays.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Liberal males don't need such services.
Just ask Bill Clinton.

Every aspect of Clinton hating boils down to this:

"That dude is a pussy magnet."

And for other incisive opinions and startling revelations, remember, you can't visit the Pale Rider blog because the bottle washing factory just added another shift and I have seventeen OSHA violations to clear up.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: The Executive Branch does NOT write legislation.

Sure they do, you f*cking moron.

What, you think the president submitted or proposed it orally?

The Executive Branch does not pass legislation, dimwit, but they certainly propose it, submit it, and write it.

You really don't know the difference, do you?

Directed at yourself no doubt, while looking in the mirror.

You clearly don't understand words or how to use them properly to convey what you mean.

Pretty much like the dumbass president you support.

And you have the gall to question the education of others?

Hardee har har!

Hey, dipsh*t, look up the meanings of "write" and "pass" in connection with legislation.

Scary thought that people who can't communicate intelligently with the English language are giving commands to those in charge of our "nucular" arsenal.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Mike K, perhaps the president mimed his proposed legislation to Congress . . .

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,

Semaphore flags at dusk.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider's good citizen post of the day:

http://www.anbg.gov.au/flags/semaphore.html

M (LH out; RH low)
I (LH across low; RH up)
K (LH up; RH low)
E (LH high; RH down)

K (LH up; RH low)

S (LH low; RH out)
U (LH high; RH high)
C (LH down; RH high)
K (LH up; RH low)
S (LH low; RH out)

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider: "That dude is a pussy magnet."

Conservatives are driven by emotion.

Which is pretty much hilarious when you think of how often conservatives criticize liberals for being too emotional when forming public policy.

Conservatives were driven by revenge, hatred, and fear when it came to Saddam.

Conservatives are driven by disgust, fear, and hatred when it comes to gays.

Conservatives are driven by anger, fear, and hatred when it comes to moral values they believe should be imposed on the American people, indeed all peoples everywhere, as a result of their faith.

Conservatives are driven by faith, a purely emotional condition.

Conservatives are driven by fear and hatred of change.

Conservatives are driven by fear and hatred of communism.

Few philosophies, and certainly not liberalism, are as driven by emotion as conservatism.

Just look at the way conservatives in the current administration, the GOP, and the lemmings on these threads constantly play to the emotions of fear, hatred, disgust, vengence, etc., in justifying action and policy.

Then, to compound their hypocrisy and mendacity, they lie about being driven by emotion.

I LOVE IT!

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I forgot to add, which was the main point i was trying to get at, that conservatives were driven almost exclusively by jealously when it came to Bill Clinton.

A purely and predictable emotional response.

Who would have thunk it!

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Pale: Semaphore flags at dusk.

Nice.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

The sex industries, both here and abroad, cater to conservative males, men who can't get non-paid-for women on their own.

Well, yeah, I thought everbody knew this.

If you can't score on your own you'll be attracted to those philosophies that promise power over women. Insert most any conservative or libertarian philosophy.

That is why it frustrates the right wing trolls when we point out their impotence.

The truth hurts real bad.

Personally I wish they'd all just go onto Everquest or whatever and live out their he-man babe magnet fantasies there. I suppose it is a pay site, though, and they don't have the money.

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K, you and other conservatives ignore a critical aspect of public policy debate and foreign policy initiative, that precision in communication is important, that you should say what you mean, mean what you say, and not employ dishonest and uncommon definitions and hidden and unknowable intent to your publically offered pronouncements.

On the other hand, perhaps that is precisely the point. You don't want to say what you mean because it would be readily rejected by the pulib and therefore mendaciously use imprecise communication to deliberately obsfucate, mislead, and misinform, then dishonestly defend the resulting public confusion and misunderstanding as the fault of the listener or opposition commentor, rather than the deliberate dishonesty of the speaker. Like Cheney did with the terrorism-Iraq linkage. Or Bush and Rumsfeld did with imminent-threat language.

Really, I guess it boils down to the result of people simply not understanding the ever-malleable and temporary bizzaro definitions conservatives use when making public statements or not taking the time to telepathically read the minds of the administration officials, or conservative lemmings, making the statements so as to know they were trying to communicate something entirely different than what they were actually saying.

We really shouldn't be surprised, though.

Conservatives are world champs when it comes to blaming their victims for the crimes, immoral acts, and dishonesties conservatives have committed.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Ahhh, "pulib" = "public".

I must be using a "conservative" keyboard today.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Why doesn't someone make the point that Washington also had slaves. Does this fact authorize the Commander in Chief in time of war to have slaves? This is just as valid an argument as stating that Washington ordered his troops to intercept and read British mail. Pre-FISA/pre-XIII Amendement. What's the difference.
If FISA doesn't apply in time of war, why should the XIII Amendment?

Posted by: Mamzic on February 7, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

While in this instance, the President has defied Congress, but he has not broken THE LAW OF THE LAND, i.e., the Constitution. The point Gonzales is making, constitutionally, is the the President's had this power and Congress CANNOT take it away. Only a Constutional Amendment can do that. Since every federal court and Supreme Court has recognized this inherent power exists and has corroborated that where it exists it inclueds these types of situations, CONGRESS CANNOT ALTER THAT POWER in our nation's history, in 1978, or now. So FISA has no relevance as to the President's inherent constitutional power, recognized by the Supreme Court, to conduct espionage here or abroad. - posted by TOH

If any of them would bother to actually READ THE CONSTITUTION they would notice that, although the president is commander in chief, Congress "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces". - posted by Dr. Morpheus

You know, after I installed this enourmous NSA surveillance spinning machine in my starship and used its gravitational pull to breach the spacetime continuum and visit three universes, I decided to do what Dr. Morpheus suggested, and read your constitution. I was surprised by how small article II is. I saw a lot of talk about how article II section 2 gives the president sole authority on foreign matters but this is not there at all - it only says that the president can make treaties, but those still need to go through the Senate. Article I, about the legislative, is in fact much larger. The commander-in-chief thing (which, btw, is such a cool title that it looks like it was drafted by George Lucas Himself) also is quite limited, and, as Dr. Morpheus points out, is also regulated by Congress in a sense (I guess that's what your Posse Comitatus thing do, right?).

So, I ask as a foreigner who lives in a country that has a constitution (in fact, it had about 10 of them in the last 180 years) that is much, much more complicated and cumbersome than yours, and also as a complete moron on all things legal (how I managed to stay out of trouble for so long is beyond me): how is this such a complicated matter? Is there some supreme court stuff that clarified these matters in subsequent years that is not within the constitution text? Because, from what I could read in the constitution, there was nothing - nothing - that would make me support the idea that the US president's power is so great as some people in this thread are suggesting. In fact, many of the president's supporters argue that Congress cannot limit the president's power, and that's what FISA would do. But subjecting american citizens to warrantless searches is a clear instance of one of the three powers (in this case, the executive) limiting the US Constitution power - how can this be different from the separation of powers argument?

Am I missing something here? Because all this spinning is surely coming close to trigger a new big bang.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 7, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

CONGRESS CANNOT ALTER THAT POWER in our nation's history, in 1978, or now. So FISA has no relevance as to the President's inherent constitutional power, recognized by the Supreme Court, to conduct espionage here or abroad

Then why did the Republican majority vote to expand FISA to cover physical searches in the 90's ?

Was it because a democrat was president ?

If the president thought the law was unconstituional, he should have taken it to the courts.

Posted by: Stephen on February 7, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Nary a peep yet from Mike K in response to my latest points, I see -- only some hysterical ranting about how anyone who favors placing any precautionary limits (or semi-independent court monitors) whatsoever on the president's wiretapping powers is thereby threatening his ability to "defend this country". Rightio. Take it up with Posner, Poindexter, Specter and Fein (and George Will, who commented acerbically on this subject some time back in the Washington Post). Otherwise, shut up.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 7, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Hey, dipsh*t, look up the meanings of "write" and "pass" in connection with legislation.

Scary thought that people who can't communicate intelligently with the English language are giving commands to those in charge of our "nucular" arsenal.

Posted by: Advocate for God"

I doubt this will help. When they ended civics classes, people like you were left to learn about government from movies and TV programs.

Here are the pertinent sections:

Section 7 - Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Legislation originates in Congress, not the Executive Branch.

The President's powers:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

He does not write legislation.

In modern times the administration proposes legislation but cannot write the bill (although they can suggest it in detail) and the bill has an author, or authors, who are members of Congress. Lobbyists "write" legislation for Christ's sake ! They don't have any power to make it happen except money.

This all began with another idiot writing that Congress cannot have a bill or resolution ending the NSA program because Bush wouldn't propose it.

You really do need to get an education.

Somebody is exercised because I didn't respond to some rant. I come by to see what the left, loony and otherwise, is saying. Some of it is sensible but a lot is nonsense. Fortunately, nobody is going to put the loonies in charge of anything serious.

Over at Brad DeLong he is holding out for the Hollywood version of the ecological history of the Indians.

You guys are too much. Thanks for a laugh.

Posted by: Mike K on February 7, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Lobbyists "write" legislation for Christ's sake ! They don't have any power to make it happen except money.

Ah, thanks for detailing the illegal way in which the Republican Party has been getting legislation passed and signed into law.

Way to go Kennedy--neither Advocate or myself could have slammed the GOP any better than you just did.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: He does not write legislation.

Here are the pertinent sections:

Please highlight the word "write" in any of those sections of the Constitution, Mike K.

When you point to the word "write" in the Constitution in connection solely with Congress's powers to legislate, then you can talk smack.

Until then, you basically got caught misusing the English language and want to blame the messenger.

Typical, typical, typical conservative.

"Wilson and Plame were the reason there were no WMDs in Iraq."

Or so Mike K would have us believe.

When they ended civics classes . . .

Is that what happened to you when you missed English classes, you were left to learn the meaning of words from the Conservative Dictionary of Malapropisms?

You really do need to get an education.

Look in the mirror, assh*le, look in the mirror.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 7, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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